a heated argument about teacher unions and teacher tenure

I’m grateful to Bloggingheads and Conor Friedersdorf for having me on again. This is an issue about which I feel great passion. I’d like to point you in the direction of this excellent Jacobin piece about the charter school takeover in New Orleans, which is pretty much exactly what I’m talking about with Conor here when I talk about sweeping changes to public education based on dubious methods.

By the way: the thumbnails of these are always maximally derpy, but I’m on another level in this one.


  1. The union thing is tough. I can understand why teachers’ unions go the maximalist route as a defense in a political climate that is deeply hostile to them, but it also becomes fodder for them to come under attack in elections – even a large part of the Democratic Party has turned against them. They need to get a lot better about collaborationist/cooperatives moves when they do get sympathetic politicians and actually making due process speedier, so that they have a stronger foundation to fight the Republicans when they make moves to gut the unions. That’s something that’s come up with successful recent private sector organization as well – the importance of being embedded in the community and seen as promoting community goals.

    Because getting politically isolated will kill public sector unions in this country, just like the slow-burn destruction of teachers’ unions in Wisconsin after Walker’s law changes, and just like how private sector unions continue to shrink.

  2. Sir, I’m a leftwing teacher in an inner-city “majority-minority” community college. (This semester starts when the sun comes up. The Chancellor believes in “the corporate model.” You can imagine.) I have a certain affection for Andrew Sullivan because of his honesty, but I try not to lose time on the Internet (no website, no social media) and I look at his blog periodically mostly in order to track the latest craziness in the dominant discourse in this country. My reaction to your insights was something like: Wow, who let this guy in here? Keep the faith and continue with the good fight! On behalf of my salt-of-the-earth students, thanks! As they would say: Stay safe and stay fly. Solidarity, Steve Badrich

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