Teachers Unions

I’ve stayed mostly away from political discussion in this blog, but I suppose it was inevitable that we got there eventually….

Like many of my peers, I consider myself to be a social liberal and and a fiscal conservative. I choose to vote most often with the Democratic party because, generally speaking, questions around social values are the political issues that I personally care more about. (That said, fiscal concerns are making a strong comeback with me considering the current sad state of our economy.)

However, as with any coalition, there are elements of the Democratic party with whom I just cannot reconcile my own beliefs. Top of that list for me? Teachers Unions.

I read this New Yorker piece while on vacation in the Far East. It made me so angry that I wanted to fly back and start beating people about the head.

And then this afternoon, I read this opinion piece by Joe Klein.

I am struggling to keep an open mind here. Maybe these unions are being unfairly maligned…?

But I’ll tell you what – if half this stuff is true, then I’m ashamed to associate myself with these people. As incomprehensible as they are to me, at least the right-wing religious conservatives can claim that they are taking a stand for something they believe to be right. Whether or not I agree with them, I can at least respect their fidelity to principle – something that is increasingly hard for me to say about the apparent naked and destructive self-interest of the teachers unions.

So – members of the teachers unions out there – please, set me straight. What am I missing? Why is there more than meets the eye here?