Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times has an article today entitled, Seeking Allies, Teachers’ Unions Court G.O.P. Too, reporting that a number of teachers’ unions throughout the country are supporting local Republican candidates. for office.
“Over the past few years, even as Republicans have led efforts to thwart unions, lawmakers previously considered solid supporters of teachers’ unions have tangled with them over a national education agenda that includes new performance evaluations based partly on test scores, the overhaul of tenure and the expansion of charter schools.
As these traditional political alliances have shifted, teachers’ unions have pursued some strange bedfellows among lawmakers who would not appear to be natural allies.
In Illinois, the top two recipients of political contributions from the Illinois Education Association through June 30 were Republicans, including a State House candidate who has Tea Party support and advocates lower taxes and smaller government.
William Seitz, a Republican state senator in Ohio who is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business-backed group, has received more money this year from the Ohio Education Association than from any other donor. Teachers’ organizations in Georgia and Texas have also donated to numerous Republicans.
In all, teachers’ groups donated $1.23 million to Republican state candidates through June 30, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics…
Teachers’ unions in New York State have devoted close to a quarter of their political contributions this year to Republicans, while the United Federation of Teachers in New York City has donated exclusively to Democrats.”
To me this makes good political sense. The unions should support candidates regardless of party who support school reform efforts that view teachers as partners and respect them for their professional skills and knowledge.