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.