WASHINGTON – If you run into Randi Weingarten, Dennis Van Roekel or any other teacher union leader this week, be kind and offer them an antacid.
In his written announcement of the week, the president praised charters as “learning laboratories [that] give educators the chance to try new models and methods that can encourage excellence in the classroom and prepare more of our children for college and careers.”
Obama also noted that “many charter schools choose to locate in communities with few high-quality educational options, making them an important partner in widening the circle of opportunity for students who need it most.”
“I commend our Nation’s charter schools, teachers, and administrators, and I call on States and communities to support charter schools and the students they serve,” Obama wrote.
The president’s public embrace of charter schools comes months after the nation’s teachers unions ponied up millions of dollars – and volunteered a countless number of hours – to assist his re-election campaign.
They can’t be happy with Obama’s decision.
Where the president sees charters as “learning laboratories,” the unions see them as leeches that are siphoning students (and money) away from America’s public education system.
The unions want local government schools to get all the K-12 funding so teachers can keep receiving their automatic step raises, free or low-cost health insurance and other generous benefits.
Union officials have long known Obama was a charter school supporter, but they couldn’t have imagined he’d be quite so blatant about it.
While union supporters spend the week guzzling Maalox, ordinary Americans should celebrate “National Charter Schools Week” – and give the president credit for taking such a public, and politically risky, stand.
By Ben Velderman at EAGnews.org