Teachers' Unions Strangling School Reform

Obama must fight for accountability and neuter 'reactionary' lobbyists
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2010 12:28 PM CST
A rally of the United Teachers Los Angeles union.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – New York could really use $700 million in federal Race to the Top education funding, Joe Klein writes, but it won’t get it thanks to intractable teachers’ unions. The federal funds require school choice and teacher accountability, so the powerful union lobby stymied it in the state legislature. The group doesn’t want its teachers to be judged based on student achievement, because it’s actually “an old-fashioned industrial union.”

The New York teachers’ union, Klein writes in Time, “has won for its members a set of work rules more appropriate to factory hands.” It’s illegal to “evaluate teachers by using student test results,” and one reformer calls the lobby “invidious and ingenious.” But charter schools, with their longer hours and teacher accountability, are the best chance for reform, and the unions must be cut down to size. They, “and their minions in the Democratic Party, have been a reactionary force in education for too long.”

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