They’ve done their best to negotiate compromises to fight another day. The progress that education reformers have made in undercutting traditional union positions is staggering. Ideals that have been the life blood of teachers unions – like seniority and tenure – are being outright abolished or severely weakened.
In an effort to fight back, the unions are dispatching as many advocates and apologists as possible. Chavez-loving actor Danny Glover popped up in Indiana – of all places – to buck up unionized teachers. Michael Moore wowed the radicals with his Madison, Wisconsin speech. Perhaps the biggest apologist for unions – in fact she was the National Education Association’s 2010 "Friend of Education" – is Diane Ravitch.
The NEA often points out that Ravitch was an assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush, as if that lends some credence to her criticism of Republican-led education reform.
Ravitch has been racking up frequent flyer miles in her effort to dismiss the relevance of charter schools, performance pay and increased teacher accountability. Her fundamental message is that everything would be fine in K-12 education if government would simply raise taxes and send schools more money.
Ravitch recently raised a point that underscores the union’s main mission: looking out for the adults who staff American public schools.
In a column in Education Week, Ravitch recounted a story she was supposedly told:
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