Should Teacher Salaries Be Recession-Proof?September 2, 2009
Corzine’s Doin’ the Charter School BopSeptember 3, 2009
Politico has a piece on the role of organized labor in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and N.J. In spite of traditional union support for Democratic candidates in N.J., Patrick Murray, Director of Monmouth University Polling Institute, says,
There’s not a lot of enthusiasm among core Democratic groups for Jon Corzine. These union groups need to move to get their members into line.
Politico explains, “in New Jersey, so far, labor leaders have found that the problem isn’t simply a matter of persuading the general electorate that Corzine deserves a second term — they have to convince their own membership, as well.”
In the education sector in N.J., this means that even though the leadership of the NJEA robustly endorsed Corzine, a significant number of members, traditionally reliable card-carrying Democrats, are holding back from declaring allegiance.
Education reform in N.J. is producing strange bedfellows. For example, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star of the Democratic Party, has an education agenda that strongly resembles Chris Christie’s emphasis on school choice in poor urban neighborhoods and the expansion of charter schools. In contrast, Corzine tiptoes near charter expansion with a mask and gloves like he’s scared of catching swine flu, so wary is he of alienating the NJEA leadership. But polls show that teachers are not behaving like sheep, not amenable to being shoved “into line.”
How much clout does the NJEA have with its members anyway? Traditionally lots – no question. But with a Democratic president pushing education reforms that are counter to union goals, and with a wildly popular mayor like Booker, for example, aligning himself – at least on education reform — with a Republican challenger, it’s worth wondering whether historically alliances are weakening.
Has education reform gone post-partisan?