Relationship Between Advocacy Groups, Unions Uneasy
As a new breed of national education advocacy organizations gains clout, they're entering into often-uneasy relationships with teachers' unions—and running into a debate about whether they can play a grassroots "ground game" comparable to that of labor.
For many unions, the policy changes the newer groups typically support—staffing based on performance measures and the expansion of charter schools, among others—tilt the balance of power away from teachers and unions and toward administrators and funders who, they argue, are less well-versed in the needs of teachers, students, and parents.
"You have people who don't know anything about the issues, about how teachers are evaluated or compensated," said Karen M. White, the political director of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. "When you have people wading into a debate with a very simple message that may test well in a poll, but is a lot more complicated than that, it's a...
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