If You Can’t Pass Education Reform – Thank a Union

Back before everyone was up in arms about public unions, in 2009, The Atlantic covered a report from The Citizens Commission on Civil Rights and education reform that bears repeating:

Much of the criticism of teachers’ unions has come from the political right. However, more telling, instructive, and powerful are the criticisms of the NEA and the AFT that have come from within. As early as 1994, Billy Boyton and John Lloyd, former top officers respectively of the Nebraska and Kansas NEA affiliates spoke out: “The NEA has been the single biggest obstacle to education reform in this country. We know because we worked for the NEA.”

The Atlantic also points out this:

…teachers’ unions profess to put students first – but often act in ways that subordinate their interests. While the unions state agreement with the goals, they work to oppose specific reform in the political process and the classroom. According to David Kilpatrick, who spent more than a dozen years as a top officer and staffer of affiliates of the NEA and the AFT, “The unions do everything possible to maintain [the status quo]…They invariably call for variations of the status quo, more of the same, rather than reforms that mean real changes. Not coincidentally they also almost uniformly call for the spending of more money and the creation of more teaching positions which, of course, result in an increase in union membership, union income and union power.”

This isn’t a stand alone criticism from the Atlantic either. That flaming wingnut Andrew Sullivan seemingly questions education reform and public unions too.

There are countless examples, and all anyone would need to do is research their local news sources for evidence the unions have blocked their local education reform attempts. Take Los Angeles, for example:

And in December, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the local teachers union the “one unwavering roadblock to reform”–a statement that would have been unthinkable several years ago coming from a major Democratic politician, himself a former organizer and lobbyist for teachers unions.

When even the left and former union members themselves can see the unions are a problem in education, it’s only a matter of time until their power and ability to stop reform is ended.

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