Matt Yglesias does not like my analysis of why liberals hate teachers unions (“Why teachers unions are different”). It’s all about the taxpayers, he says—and the folks who work in charter schools. If CTU members get what they want, that’s not coming out of the pocket of “the bosses” it’s coming out of the pocket of the people who work at charter schools or the people who pay taxes in Chicago. But the CTU strike isn’t mainly about wages—it’s about education policy. The city of Chicago is spending buckets of money on… Read More
A lot of otherwise liberal people really hate teachers’ unions. I’ve been wondering why they’re so singled out for contempt. It struck me last night that perhaps the thinking is that it’s ok for autoworkers or janitors to unionize because they’re pretty much interchangeable from an educated upper-middle-class perspective. Teachers, though, are supposed to be “professionals,” and any kind of solidarity among them offends an individualistic, meritocratic sensibility that believes in (often “objective”) measures of evaluation. But even “professionals” can be pushed around by bosses and need solidarity to prevent being exploited… Read More
Several people have written me to say that all the good stuff I described, via the OECD, about Ontario’s progressive education reform in my previous post is all over. The Liberals have gone American. Sad news. But it does make you wonder: if American-style ed reform were really about “the kids,” why abandon an experiment that was a model for the world? The suspicion that the U.S. reform agenda is about social discipline and saving money seems more justified than ever.