Government is supposed to serve the interests of the public.
Unions are supposed to serve the interests of their members.
Unions align with politicians to get what they want --- political support in the form of keeping out competition for the jobs of their members.
In exchange for this political support, unions come to the financial aid of their political allies at election time.
It's a nice cozy relationship that EXCLUDES the best interests of the public at large, including the parents and students who attend public schools. It also EXCLUDES the best interests of the broader society in having a high quality educational system which produces informed citizens in a cost effective manner.
As an example of all of the above, let's consider the case of teachers unions, politicans, parents and students in New Jersey today.
Hang Tough, Gov. Christie has the story:
"Water is wet. The sky is blue. And New Jersey Gov. Chris is being criticized
for not mincing his words.
At a town hall speech in Paterson on Tuesday, Mr. Christie referred to the
"African-American female speaker of the Assembly" who is blocking a vote on a
school voucher bill for low-income kids stuck in failing schools. The Republican
governor's critics don't like the fact that he referenced the lawmaker's race
and want him to apologize.
"Democratic Speaker Sheila Oliver later said she was 'appalled' that Christie
injected race into the discussion on education," reports the Associated Press.
"Oliver, who represents a district with some failing schools, has said she
believes the state should make a larger investment in public education." A
New Jersey's per-pupil spending is the second-highest in the U.S. after New
York and nearly 60% above the national average. And per-pupil spending in cities
like Paterson is markedly higher than the state average. Yet according to a New
Jersey Education Department report last year, "the state ranked 50th out of 51
states (including Washington, D.C.) in the achievement gap between high- and
low-income students in eighth grade reading."
If anyone should apologize, maybe it's the sorry politicians who betray the
black underclass by siding with teachers unions who oppose school choice. Poll
after poll going back decades shows that low-income blacks overwhelmingly favor
access to vouchers, charter schools and other education options. It's hard to
find a charter school in a struggling inner city that doesn't have a lengthy
wait list. A means-tested federal voucher program in Washington, D.C., has four
applicants for every available slot. Naturally, President Obama and the teachers
unions want to shut it down.
The demand for school choice among blacks couldn't be more obvious, and Mr.
Christie was right to highlight the disconnect between the actions of too many
black pols and the desires of their black constituents. Black voters deserve to
know that evil white Republicans in Trenton are not the ones keeping ghetto kids
trapped in the most violent schools with the highest drop-out rates and the
worst teachers. Kudos to the governor."
This reminds me of the quote by legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, "THE OBSCURE WE SEE EVENTUALLY. THE COMPLETELY OBVIOUS, IT SEEMS, TAKES LONGER.
If we want to fix what's wrong with our schools, we have to stop practicing insanity by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
That's my take.