Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teacher Unions

Previous posts have analyzed the political role of public-employee unions, especially those representing teachersThe New York Times finds a change in political strategy by teacher unions:
In all, teachers’ groups donated $1.23 million to Republican state candidates through June 30, according to theNational Institute on Money in State Politics.
While donations to Democrats still far outweigh contributions to Republicans, the proportion of union money going to Republican candidates this year, just over 8 percent, has doubled since the last election cycle, according to the institute. In some states, the increase has been steeper. In Ohio, the proportion of contributions to Republicans jumped to more than 21 percent this year from less than 1 percent in 2010. Similarly, in Illinois, where 16 percent of donations went to Republicans in 2010, the proportion has increased to 22 percent.
“The notion that just because you’re a Democrat” you can take the teachers’ unions for granted has changed, said Jim Reed, director of government relations for the Illinois Education Association.
Cameron Joseph writes at The Hill:
Mitt Romney took shots at the teachers' unions but otherwise struck a softer tone on education on Tuesday, calling for higher teacher pay and even complimenting President Obama's secretary of education.
Romney called for allowing parents to pick which school they enrolled their children in and for tying some portion of teachers' pay to merit-based testing while downplaying the importance of classroom size, staples of GOP policy orthodoxy.

But while he criticized teachers' unions and their ties to Democrats at NBC's Education Nation forum in New York City, he didn't take quite as sharp a tone as he previously had on teachers' unions and emphasized increasing new teacher pay in order to attract better talent to the classrooms.
"The person sitting across the table from them should not have received the biggest contributions from the teachers' union itself," Romney said when asked about the recently concluded Chicago teachers' strike, taking a shot at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former White House Chief of Staff.
In 1999, Obama had an intriguing side comment on teacher unions: