Unions can Resist Education Reform Because Obama has Their Back

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Stephen Moore has an excellent WSJ Op-Ed where he explains how the Obama administration helps the teacher unions stonewall any concessions for educational reform.

Highlights:

Because of declining tax collections and falling enrollment, Milwaukee’s school board announced in June that 428 teachers were losing their jobs…. Yet the teachers union, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, had it within its power to avert almost all of the layoffs.

The current health plan costs taxpayers $26,844 per family, compared to the typical $14,500 cost for a private employer family plan. [This] plan does not require [any co-pays by] teachers …—a situation that is all but extinct in private employment. In the spring, the school board offered a new health plan that would reduce costs to $17,172 per family. The plan would have saved money by requiring co-pays.

This would have prevented, according to the report, the lay offs of “approximately 480 teachers”—more than the number that ultimately lost their jobs. But when union officials were presented the option, they chose to allow their members to be dismissed.

So why were these teachers considered expendable by the people who are supposed to protect their jobs? This brings us … to Mr. Obama’s $23 billion teacher bailout.

The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association was immovable on benefits in part because it placed a bet on its Democratic friends in Washington rushing to the rescue. “The problem must be addressed with a national solution, a federal stimulus package that will restore educator positions,” Pat Omar, the union’s executive director said in June. The union’s strategy in recent weeks has been to stage rallies demanding a federal bailout, and it used hundreds of school kids at those rallies as political props.

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