At a series of standing-room-only forums in Denver last week in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention, several urban mayors and educators said union contracts limit their ability to fire bad teachers and move good ones to needy schools. "We have to understand that as Democrats we have been wrong on education, and it's time to get it right," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. He said unions have pressured him to reject charter schools, vouchers and other ways to broaden urban students' access to better schools.
"Ten years ago, when I started talking about school choice, I was tarred and feathered," he told the crowd. "I literally was brought into a room by one of the union officers. ... He threatened me that I would never win in office if I kept talking about school choice and kept talking about charter schools."
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Democrats starting to break free
The nation's largest newspaper reports (Democrats, teachers unions now divided on many issues) that the Democratic Party "has visibly split with teachers unions, its longtime allies, on key issues."