No, this is not one more sneaky pitch for Barack Obama...but there is an old guard versus new guard, past versus future spin to the subject.
While Dem candidates continue to battle for the lead in the neverending presidential primary season, the city’s teachers union, UTLA, is in the midst of its own election fever, which even includes a series of debates, the last of which is tonight.
As expected, incumbent prez A.J. Duffy is running again. But frankly, it’s time for him to go. For one thing, he’s been stubbornly unwilling to play nice with charter schools, despite repeated approaches from Steve Barr’s Green Dot. He has also been notably obstructionist in the face of other innovations that he perceived as threatening the union’s control—which at times seemed to be nearly everything.
Linda Guthrie, the union’s VP who is challenging Duffy for the presidency, is tough, respected but much more willing than Duffy has been to embrace a future featuring cooperation rather than intractability.
In fact Guthrie comes right out and says that she’s in favor of charters, and seems to believe that the best of them are not only healthier for students, but also better for teachers in that they accord instructors more control over what they teach than one generally finds at LAUSD. Guthrie wants the charters to be unionized, of course, but she has a bunch of smart and forward-looking ideas as to how to work out deals with the charter operators.
I know Guthrie, and one of the things I like best about her is her clarity about the fact that it’s the well-being of the students, not just the well-being of the union, that ought to be driving the discussion.
In short, for my money, a vote for Linda Guthrie and her slate is a no brainer.