Untimely Observations

The Base of the Base

The New York Times Magazine writes on the battle in the Democratic party between Ivy League education reformers, who believe in charter schools and paying teachers for performance, and the teacher’s unions, who believe in seniority pay and making it impossible to fire incompetents.  Obama’s Department of Education is tilting towards the elites.  

I was wondering which group I disliked more-lazy union workers or pie in the sky education romantics-until I saw this passage.

If unions are the Democratic Party’s base, then teachers’ unions are the base of the base. The two national teachers’ unions — the American Federation of Teachers and the larger National Education Association — together have more than 4.6 million members. That is roughly a quarter of all the union members in the country. Teachers are the best field troops in local elections. Ten percent of the delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention were teachers’ union members. In the last 30 years, the teachers’ unions have contributed nearly $57.4 million to federal campaigns, an amount that is about 30 percent higher than any single corporation or other union. And they have typically contributed many times more to state and local candidates. About 95 percent of it has gone to Democrats.

So our government builds the schools, makes attendance mandatory, pays the salaries, and has the employees form unions which not only work to extort as much money from the state as possible but make up the base of the government party.  They steal from the taxpayer while making him pay the costs of organizing the robbery.

As a hereditarian, I don’t think that there’s much you can do to improve school performance, especially for the least able.  But there’s no qestion you could get the same results for a lot less money.