Unexplained union-voter connection

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Though many education observers have been saying the political clout of teachers unions is gone, that perception was dashed during last week's election, as unions came roaring back.

Ben Velderman of the Education Action Group Foundation (EAG) explains that teachers unions made significant gains in several states during this month's elections. Even though unions have a negative public image, he asserts they hold an unexplained emotional connection with voters.

Velderman, Ben (EAG)"You look at polling data and it suggests that the teacher unions are not very well liked by the average American," he notes.

"But yet it's very effective for them to go out in front of voters and say that these reforms are hurting teachers and [ask] Why are you attacking teachers? That still carries a lot of weight."

He reports that teachers unions were able to roll back K-12 reforms in Idaho and South Dakota, and they helped pass a $6 billion-dollar tax increase in California.

"So it does suggest that they're still alive, still able to organize and to pull their resources and strike where they want to," Velderman concludes.

But he tells OneNewsNow there were a few bright spots for education reform in the election results last week. New charter schools will be established in Washington state and Georgia; and Michigan voters defeated an attempt by the unions to have collective bargaining enshrined in the state's constitution.

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