Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

School Choice Takes National TV Stage at Last Night's Presidential Debate

In contrast with the unimpressive remarks provided at the vice-presidential debate, I was excited to hear the candidates in last night’s presidential debate talk so much about school choice. The candidates agree on public school choice. First, an excerpt of Senator John McCain’s remarks: So choice and competition amongst schools is one of the key elements that’s already been proven in places in like New Orleans and New York City and other places, where we have charter schools, where we take good teachers and we reward them and promote them…. Charter schools aren’t the only answer, but they’re providing competition. They are providing the kind of competitions that have upgraded both schools — types of schools. And here’s some of what Senator Barack Obama had to say: Charter schools, I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois despite some reservations from teachers unions. I think it’s important to foster competition inside the public schools. But then came the point of disagreement.

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Momentous Showdown between Michelle Rhee and D.C. Teachers Union

I earlier told you about the tough teacher union negotiations here in Denver that got resolved at the last minute. But there’s even more momentous negotiations going on in Washington, D.C. – a school district that has earned a poor reputation for wasteful and corrupt bureaucracy and dismal academic performance. New D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee (of Teach For America fame) is trying to clean house, though, as the Washington Post‘s Steven Pearlstein notes: Negotiations are stalled over Rhee’s proposal to give teachers the option of earning up to $131,000 during the 10-month school year in exchange for giving up absolute job security and a personnel-and-pay system based almost exclusively on years served. If Rhee succeeds in ending tenure and seniority as we know them while introducing merit pay into one of the country’s most expensive and underperforming school systems, it would be a watershed event in U.S. labor history, on a par with President Ronald Reagan’s firing of striking air traffic controllers in 1981. It would trigger a national debate on why public employees continue to enjoy what amounts to ironclad job security without accountability while the taxpayers who fund their salaries have long since been forced to accept […]

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