Who speaks for Democrats on education?
The Democratic National Convention will wrap up tonight, likely with a shower of balloons and a call for solidarity from President Obama, as the campaign enters its final phase. Solidarity was anything but apparent on Monday, however, at a showing of the controversial film “Won’t Back Down.” DNC delegates who attended passed parents and teachers who picketed outside on their way to listening to uber-reformer Michelle Rhee discuss the movie inside. The screening of the Hollywood tribute to the “parent trigger” had the blessing of the White House and party higher ups, but certainly not of the AFT’s Randi Weingarten and others in the Democrats’ traditional labor base also in Charlotte this week. As Rhee pointed out, “There is no longer sort of this assumed alliance between the Democratic Party and the teachers unions.” With a strike that would pit a Democratic mayor (and Obama’s former chief-of-staff) against the Chicago Teachers Union looming next week, the uneasy Democratic alliance over education issues will only be strained further. It seems that a week after Republicans signaled that they had found their way on education, Democrats took one step closer to coming apart over the issue.
RELATED ARTICLE: “Teachers unions’ alliance with the Democratic Party frays,” Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2012.