Via EducationNews.org, we discover that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — a Progressive’s Progressive if ever Southern California had one — has finally caved:
Antonio Villaraigosa, once a labor organizer in Los Angeles and beloved by his union supporters who backed him in his elections to the State Assembly and his current mayoral office, is one of a growing number of Democratic mayors who have switched positions regarding unions in education. The Los Angeles Mayor describes the teachers union as an ‘unwavering roadblock’ to the improvement of public education in the city.
My personal suspicion is that these Democrat mayors know that the unions are essentially ideological hostages: they have nowhere else to go. What are they going to do with their political warchests, throw in behind a conservative? That’s the cost of putting yourself out on the political extreme in a two-party system: you sometimes just have to take it and like it.
It’s interesting (if that’s not too vague a word) to see the prise de fere going on in the political rhetoric, too:
The unions, already feeling under assault from Republican strongholds pushing through reform legislation and neutering tenure wherever possible, are unhappy at what they see as the betrayal of Democrat’s supporting the reformists in their battle, but the reformers will claim that they’re not fighting against the unions per se, but are fighting for the children being failed by the current system.
It’s always for the children, isn’t it?