Hardly Defying Teacher Unions

Published September 22, 2008

To what extent is Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama really defying the teacher unions by saying he favors a doubling of federal aid to charter schools? (“Education is a looming issue,” Sept. 22.) Washington doesn’t spend much on charter schools currently (about $200 million per year) but with the extra spending, Obama indicated he would seek a new layer of federal oversight of these independently managed public schools.

The teacher unions actually have favored charter schools when they could see to it through regulation or re-regulation that are just conventional public schools offering families no real choice. It may be worthy of note that neither the National Education Association nor the American Federation of Teachers protested Obama’s latest call for increased federal spending on education.

Robert Holland ([email protected]) is Senior Fellow for Education Policy at The Heartland Institute.