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.
"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.