Civil Rights, School Reform and the Danger of Weakening Unions

At the turn of the 21st Century, Civil Rights leaders and their liberal suporters were desperate to find some point of access to addressing racial and economic equality  Looking at a grim political landscape due to the Democratic Party’s movement to the Right, they decided that education reform was the only strategy that had a chance of securing bi-partisan support because it required no sacrifice on the part of business elites who had achieved an ascendant position in both major parties by the late 90’s. The result, beginning with No Child Left Behind, was a national crusade of unprecedented proportions, fully bi-partisan, which still continues. Unfortunately, it has not only failed to achieve the desired results in education, but has seen every other indicator of inequality- from child poverty, to the racial wealth gap, to wage compression, to the concentration of wealth at the top- worsen, not only during the Presidency of George W Bush, but during the ascendancy of Barack Obama.

But liberals and Civil Rights leaders stubbornly cling to school reform and become increasingly desperate to make it work, an understandable if self-destructive act of political stubbornness at a time when no other egalitarian strategy is likely to gain bi partisan support. What they would have to accept is that continuing current School Reform strategies might actually be worse than doing nothing

But there is a further irony which indicates the trap that liberals and Civil Rights leaders have dug for themselves.. The only egalitarian strategy that has a chance of working would be the unionization of the nation’s low wage workforce, but that requires strengthening the very trade unions that education reformers decided to undermine and attack!

It is time for a cold hard look by liberals at the failures of School Reform and for them to end their war on America’s unions. Unless they want our current march to Plutocracy to succeed so well that all other options are foreclosed.