You’ve heard talk of change? Mickey Kaus found it at an Ed Challenge for Change event at the Democratic convention: Dems rally against unions!
One panelist — I think it was Peter Groff, president of the Colorado State Senate, got the ball rolling by complaining that when the children’s agenda meets the adult agenda, the “adult agenda wins too often.” Then Cory Booker of Newark attacked teachers unions specifically–and there was applause. In a room of 500 people at the Democratic convention! “The politics are so vicious,” Booker complained, remembering how he’d been told his political career would be over if he kept pushing school choice, how early on he’d gotten help from Republicans rather than from Democrats. The party would “have to admit as Democrats we have been wrong on education.” Loud applause! Mayor Adrian Fenty of D.C. joined in, describing the AFT’s attempt to block the proposed pathbreaking D.C. teacher contract. Booker denounced “insane work rules,” and Groff talked about doing the bidding of “those folks who are giving money [for campaigns], and you know who I’m talking about.” Yes, they did!
Update: Education Week has more on “tensions” between union members and education reformers at the convention. But Joe Biden takes the straight union stand: Dump NCLB (for which he voted), no pay for performance, spend more on pre-K and lowering class size.