Bill Murchison

They forget the fate of the arrogant; e.g., the United Auto Workers, who long ago ceased to dictate what Americans would drive. They can't figure out that when you stand in the way of seriously needed change or reform you get knocked off the road. Which brings up the case of the teachers' unions.

Everybody ought to love teachers. Nobody ought to love their unions. The unions plant their feet in the middle of the highway, refusing as far as they can to let reforming vehicles pass. Specifically, the unions hate school choice and charter schools -- even those charter schools that succeed conspicuously in the midst of public school failure.

Unions constitutionally hate reforms that take away jobs. They'd generally rather just muddle along than allow needless or ill-performed jobs to go away. But aren't the schools in question public schools? "The public be damned," as Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt memorably expressed it. The teachers' unions couldn't agree more. Charter schools and school choice theoretically drain the educational swamp of students with enough energy to do better. The unions' tacit assumption is that you can't improve bad schools or make bad pupils better. But you can preserve jobs! The unions set their collective face like flint. "No," is their favorite response to requests to help things along by acknowledging the need for change.

A visit to that Tennessee VW plant might open some eyes about the fate of unions that ignore reality. But we shouldn't count on it. "No" is such an easy word, especially when you say it all the time.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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