Sara Mead and Ashley Mitchel with an important new analysis of how data and evidence can improve Head Start.
Friedrichs reax: Perhaps the best news for the unions coming out of yesterday is that everyone is convinced they’re going to lose. Beware conventional wisdom and consensus? They’d better hope so. The plaintiff’s strategy seemed predicated on the idea that they had the votes they needed, that can be risky. Anyway, here’s the transcript. Short version: Constitutionally it looks like the unions have a problem – and one in no small part of their own making. Politically, reasonable people can disagree. Veteran court watcher Dahlia Lithwick thinks it’s a done deal.
That’s why it’s eminently possible to be broadly in favor of expanding union power, and against expanding that power in the government sphere. FDR believed that collective bargaining with the government was impossible; so did George Meany, the head of the AFL-CIO in the 1950s. Government has no profits to distribute or share with workers; union power can only take more money from taxpayers, or degrade the quality and number of services offered to the constituents.
The argument in favor of public-sector unions often ends up being: “Well, this is what we have, the last redoubt of the labor movement. We can’t afford to lose it.” If that’s what’s left of the labor movement, why strain so hard to protect it? When I look at the history of labor under the Obama administration, I don’t see a lot of evidence that strong public-sector unions have helped workers in general. Private-sector unions suffered loss after loss, on issues from trade to Obamacare’s Cadillac tax.
So while I don’t know whether the teachers’ union will win this case, I do know that labor advocates should think hard about whether they should win. Stronger public-sector unions are probably good for most of the people in them. But they’re not so great for the rest of us. And the bigger they get, the more their personal issues become our politics.
Garrett Epps in Atlantic:
I couldn’t count five justices who want to stay with “stability” however. The most likely outcome is a sharply divided 5-4 opinion upending the world of public-employee unions. Less likely is a decision that unions may continue charging fees, but can’t require objectors to “opt out.” Under this modified system, workers would have to fill out an “opt-in” form agreeing to the charges. That result would be no more strongly moored in precedent, and would likely weaken unions—though no one can say how much because, again, there’s no factual record in this case.
Okay, sort of does look like it’s over.
Bernie Sanders wants the federal government to do more to mitigate the inherent unfairness in property tax based education funding. Great! He’s right. Except I don’t recall him doing a lot to help address the various federal education rules that also drive within state and district inequities…