Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Chicago Teachers’ Strike, Signs of Unions Under Siege - NYTimes.com

In Chicago Teachers’ Strike, Signs of Unions Under Siege - NYTimes.com: "If the famously feisty Mr. Emanuel wins this confrontation, he could set the table for a major setback for teachers’ unions nationwide and a potential rethinking of teachers’ enthusiasm for Democrats in this year’s elections. Advocates of sweeping education changes like Michelle Rhee, the former head of the school system in Washington, will be able to declare that if Chicago’s mighty union was willing to accept such changes, so should teachers’ union locals across the nation.

“The teachers’ unions are on the defensive on many more fronts than they used to be,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., a longtime education analyst who heads the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning education policy group in Washington. “It used to be they could just fight vouchers and charter schools. But now they face this huge set of issues,” not to mention budgetary pressures that have caused large-scale layoffs. Weakening the unions’ leverage and ranks, more than 300,000 school employees have lost their jobs since the recession ended in June 2009."

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