Democrats vs. Teacher Unions: The Battle Heats Up
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  • Mark Michael

    Gov. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) has announced a sweeping educational reform for his state. It includes vouchers for up to 60% of the students statewide to use at various non-traditional schools, including private schools. It includes major changes to teacher evaluation, tenure rules, and makes it much easier for public schools to fire non-performing teachers.

    He plans to submit his proposal to the LA legislature in March when it resumes session. See:

    What happens to it in the legislature remains to be seen. Other states that have undertaken sweeping school choice changes, such as Utah which passed a statewide voucher program, saw the teachers unions manage to get it repealed by the voters in referenda.

    Indiana passed a more modest statewide K-12 school voucher program last year. About 4,000 students are using vouchers in 2011-12 to attend private schools in Indiana. Most of those 4,000 are in the larger cities: Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Gary, etc. A slower pace allows private schools to expand at a reasonable rate so they can maintain their standards.

    Ohio has 17,000 students using vouchers to attend private schools. Ohio’s program started in 2006 and slowly expanded also. They just raised the ceiling to 60,000 students. Going slowly allows a political constituency to build up that can lobby for more expansion in the state legislature over time. Ohio was considering a major expansion last year, but after seeing Senate Bill 5 get shot down in flames by the voters, I suspect the legislature will hold off for another year or two.

    Wisconsin voted to expansion their longstanding Milwaukee voucher program to allow Racine and another city (which escapes my mind right now) to also start voucher programs. They had planned to go statewide, but after the brouhaha over Walker’s Budget Repair Bill, they backed off and limited it to just those 3 cities.

  • Kenny

    To bad there can’t be a some type of celestial accounting done to determine the damage in stunted lives, economic opportunity lost, and waste of taxpayer money that the teachers unions have cost America.

    The cost has to be astronomical

  • Kris

    “the teacher unions are losing control over the educational system.”

    Inconceivable! Next thing you know, the civil service will lose control over government!

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “Republicans want to roast them on skewers and eat them for dinner.”
    Actually I want them deep fried in bacon fat, because everything is better with BACON!

  • Chris Hoey

    Two things that will move teacher disciplines along with more dispatch are: (1) Suspend the teachers WITHOUT pay. This would put pressure on their representatives to expedite the disposition of grievances. If the discipline turns out to be unfounded, a back pay award will make the teachers whole (as in most civil litigation); and (2) Provide for an unbiased source for the arbitration panels or arbitrator on a rotating basis, to avoid cronyism or intentional bias in the decision maker seeking more cases.

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