LA mayor attacks teachers’ union

Los Angeles’ teachers union has been an  “unwavering roadblock to reform” for the last five years, said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a former teachers’ union employee, in a Sacramento speech. He called for change in tenure, teacher evaluations and seniority, reports the Los Angeles Times. (Fox & Hounds has the text.)

“At every step of the way, when Los Angeles was coming together to effect real change in our public schools, UTLA was there to fight against the change and slow the pace of reform,” Villaraigosa declared at a forum of the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.

The mayor had been at odds with the teachers union for years but had never until now called the union out so vociferously.

Villaraigosa defines himself as a “progressive” and a man of the left, writes the Times. In the speech, he talked about his background as a union organizer and legislative advocate. He also said, “The most powerful defenders of the status quo are the teachers’ unions. They intimidated people, especially Democrats, from doing anything about reform.”

The mayor has clashed with the union for years, but never this openly. I wonder if he’s watching videos of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

A majority of school board seats are up in the March 8 election and Superintendent Ramon Cortines is retiring.

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Comments

  1. Foobarista says:

    Isn’t this a bit like Stalin complaining that the Party is excessively Communist?

  2. Teachers unions protect teachers. That’s their purpose. They will protect teachers over students’ interests. It’s nice that some of the politicians on the pro-union side (i.e. Democrat) are finally realizing that the interests of the children must prevail over those of some political compatriots. So what is a systemic change that will weaken the unions’ ability to block needed reforms without killing unions altogether?

  3. (Caroline): “So what is a systemic change that will weaken the unions’ ability to block needed reforms without killing unions altogether?
    My preference (short of vouchers or Parent Performance Contracting) would be legislation that authorizes unionization elections and collective bargaining to cover individual schools and not extend beyond that.

  4. Dick Eagleson says:

    So what is a systemic change that will weaken the unions’ ability to block needed reforms without killing unions altogether?

    There isn’t one. Now if you knock the last four words off of that query, you get a question with a straightforward answer – eliminate teacher unions altogether. Even if you accept the leftist notion that unionization is the only way regular joes can effectively resist the alleged oppression of capitalist exploiters, the idea of public employee unions is incoherent; government agencies are not capitalistic enterprises so where’s the alleged exploitation? Public employee unions are almost entirely responsible for the growth of government over the past 50 years. The U.S. is now nearly bankrupt as a result of attempting to feed their ceaseless demands for more and more of the nation’s income. They need to be abolished.

  5. Sigh. As a former federal government worker, I have to agree about the “ceaseless demands for more and more of the nation’s income.” I was in a professional job, loaded with benefits, and the union pushed and pushed until Congress threw another big chunk of money our way (locality pay for diplomats leaving DC to go abroad–not only do they get free housing/cost of living allowances/danger and hardship pay while abroad, but now they get to keep the pay bump as though they were still living in DC, too). The rationale was that diplomats wouldn’t want to go abroad if they didn’t get to keep the locality pay. Diplomats. Not. Want. To. Go. Abroad. Do they realize how bad that makes them look to people outside of Foggy Bottom?