What Teacher Union Officials Do Best
What do teacher union officials do best? Surprise! It’s not increasing teacher salaries! For years education experts have been saying teacher union officials are best at politics, and the latest reports bear this out. Former Secretary of Education William Bennett declared the NEA “the heart and center of the Democratic Party.” Chris Baylor has the story in the Washington Post online.
Surprisingly, teachers’ unions, it turns out, don’t increase teacher salaries — something that these teachers are achieving nevertheless.
But teachers’ unions do accomplish something politically notable: They are a vital part of liberal coalitions and the Democratic Party. Teachers’ union organization and mobilization, like that of other government workers’ unions, have long compensated for the declining membership in traditional organized labor. What’s more, they’ve advanced the causes of women’s and LGBTQ rights — rights that are important to many or most of their members. They’ve done that by delivering money, mobilization and organization to both the Democratic Party and to feminist groups.