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 creating new schools, like charters, even though there’s no evidence that they produce better results than traditional public schools (The charter school scam). The union has made it very clear, in this fine policy paper (“The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve”), that it’s fighting over the whole testing and privatization agenda beloved of Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the American elite, and for better funding of the city’s public schools.
The “what about the taxpayers?” lament is straight out of the Reagan playbook—from which it’s clear that a lot of Democrats are taking instruction these days.