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.

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  1. Shockin! Oh, shockin’!

  2. John Thacker says:

    500? Easily outnumbered by the members of teachers unions attending the convention. Still, impressive to see the party policy wonks doing that. (Kaus is right that it’s a movement lead by black politicians feeling that the unions have been letting their kids down.)

  3. Richard Nieporent says:

    Kaus is right that it’s a movement lead by black politicians feeling that the unions have been letting their kids down.

    It looks like it is time for the plantation masters Democratic leadership to reassert authority. After all we can’t let those uppity Blacks dissidents get away with this. Democracy is not allowed in the Democratic party.

  4. Obama’s endorsement acceptance speech at the NEA suggests he’s not completely unaware of the problem. Whether he’s got the courage, or whether he believes the political winds have changed sufficiently, to break with the supporters of the educational status quo is another question.

  5. “Democracy is not allowed in the Democratic party.”

    Perhaps it’s time for a name change. Their counterparts in the U.K., Canada and Australia use the name Labour Party (Labor in AU). The name Labor Party would be an especially good fit in the U.S. (another possibility, Union Party, would have too much of a Civil War connotation).

  6. The rules of politics – never acknowledge you have been wrong, even if you have been.

    Bart – In Minnesota there’s the DFL party – Democrat Farmer Labor. In the spirit of naming the party after the coalition I propose the Feminist Union Minority Environmentalist Party. FUME for short.

  7. “…I propose the Feminist Union Minority Environmentalist Party. FUME for short.”

    Not revolutionary enough. How about the Feminist Revolutionary Union Minority Party, or FRUMP?

  8. The Democrats will never jettison their two megadonors. Without teachers’ unions and trial lawyers, where are they gonna get funds?

  9. Badabing,

    Where? Ted Gill (Software), Sperling (Phoenix U), Bing (Progressive Insurance), Hollywood, etc. etc. To add insult to injury, America’s corporate class is more than happy to fund the left, as long as Gov. Money is pumped into protected contracts with their sector.

    Conservative funders are a gaggle of selfish idiots who only fund neutered think tanks and pasty Republican Candidates (under campaign limits)

    Koch and DeVos alone could turn the tide, but they adhere to a 1980 mindset in 21st century world.