Yesterday in Wisconsin, public-employee unions and their supporters failed to recall the aggressively anti-labor governor Scott Walker. Today in Chicago, public school teachers are voting on strike authorization as part of their ongoing struggle with mayor Rahm Emanuel and the school board.
To be clear, the teachers aren't striking. They're voting to authorize a hypothetical future strike, as a negotiating tactic. No one wants to see classroom learning grind to a halt and working parents stuck with unexpected child-care duties.
And, while I'm not one to defend the teachers unions' every single move, I'm tired of seeing public education set up to fail and then blamed for its own failure, with special blame always reserved for teachers. And I'm especially irked by the stunning elitism of successful, often private-school-educated people promoting a vision of public ed as a lean factory operation for turning out human widgets ready to take their small place in what's left of the economic machine.
The video below offers some striking insight into this variety of elitism. First, some background for all you people from not-Chicago.
Now, watch this speech by trial lawyer and public-school parent Matt Farmer:
Of course, a journalist couldn't really conduct an interview in the form of a cross examination, not least because the subject could always just walk away. That professional quibble aside, Farmer's anger is righteous and incisive.