The Teachers Union is to Education as....
Like many parents, I'm unhappy with the state of education in the U.S. today. We spend vast amounts of money on education, yet fall behind other countries. Only our unprecedented ability to import the best brains in the world through immigration has kept us on top, and this is threatened by the current economic and cultural booms in India and China.
Many people are to blame for the perilous state of K-12 education in the U.S.--meddling politicians and judges, the parents who aren't sufficiently involved, the kids themselves--but part of the blame has to be shouldered by the teachers' unions which put the quality of teaching last by trying to limit accountability by fighting school choice and standardized testing at every turn.
The Coyote Blog does a fantastic job of summing up the situation: Today's teachers' unions are like the Detroit auto workers unions in the 1970s--wedging out money, banning competition, and doing everything but actually improving the end product.
I am fortunate enough to be able to live in Palo Alto, where the combination of ridiculous land values, involved parents, and a community focus on education have produced some of the finest public schools in the country, but I encourage every parent and politician to consider what the teachers' unions are up to the next time they vote.