Will Education Divide the Democratic Party?

Will differences between education reformers and teachers' unions cost Obama in 2012?

Whereas cable news has been running with the narrative that the Tea Party will eventually split the Republican Party, U.S. News & World Report opinion columnist Alvin Felzenberg believes the real threat of fissure concerns the Democrats. The issue that will tear its already loose coalition together: education (specifically disagreement between teachers' unions and educated elites).

Elite, well-educated reformers ... regard public schools as incubators of quality workforces the information-based economy of the 21st century will need to maintain the lead the United States currently enjoys in research and development, patents, and entrepreneurship. These groups, as they do in their places of businesses, put a premium on quality performance and accountability. The teachers unions regard public schools as warehouses to which students are assigned on the basis of where they happen to live. Consistent with the trade union culture, their primary concern remains job protection of their members. These are two full-powered locomotives heading toward each other on a common track. If he is not careful, President Obama may be the victim of the coming collision.

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