I have to say, this kind of thing does a lot more to make me think less of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO than it does to make me think less of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. The crux of the matter here is that Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee have offered DC teachers a very generous proposal that will create an option for teachers to move onto a career track that features more money in exchange for less job security. The Washington Teachers Union is opposing this for reasons that mostly seem to amount to paranoia, since the policy merits aside it’s hard to see how this proposal would make any of their members any worse off. The WTU leadership is going to do what it’s going to do, I guess, but the rest of organized labor would do well to steer clear of this particular spat rather than taking it up as an opportunity to paint Fenty and other proponents of the proposal as somehow anti-labor — I think most unions would be glad to be getting offers of large pay increases from management.
This comes via Ryan Avent. It’s worth considering that DC is, at this point, in better financial shape than the vast majority of American localities and also has much worse schools. Under the circumstances, it’s the best possible opportunity for teachers to get what Rhee’s putting on the table — generous reform that puts real resources on the table and thereby keeps teaching as an attractive career path even while building some additional accountability into the deal.