The current teachers’ strike in Chicago is the perfect encapsulation of a clash between the old guard and the new in the Democratic Party. On one side, a public sector union which thinks a 16% raise for the average teacher is insufficient, facing off against evil big city Republican mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Wait, I got that wrong. Rahm Emanuel’s deal isn’t good enough for the teachers’ unions? Wow. Well, that should tell you something. And that something is that teachers’ unions are slowly but surely losing their grip on the Democratic Party. Molly Ball writes at The Atlantic:
Liberals, the reformers say, are realizing that they can’t in good conscience support the reality of the nation’s floundering and unequal education system. “I had a simple world view: teachers are good, unions are good, therefore teachers unions are good,” says Ben Austin, executive director of a group called Parent Revolution. “But progressives are waking up to the fact that the status quo is not a progressive position.”
Reforming schools, Austin says, empowers low-income parents and makes public education more truly public. “A growing group of voters are ideological liberals but don’t believe their money is going to serve children in public education. They think it gets stuck in a bureaucratic black hole and gets wasted,” he said. “If we’re going to be big-government liberals, which I am, we have to be for big government that works, or we’re going to lose to the right-wingers who want to devolve everything.”
Chicago is the site of a death rattle. And I say: good riddance.