Today's Sacramento Bee is saying what, until now, teachers' unions have not been openly admitting -- that they are increasingly fighting their erstwhile political allies on a range of fronts stretching from charter schools to merit pay to budget cuts and layoffs. Los Angeles in particularly, finds the United Teachers of Los Angeles confronted by its once-reliable friend, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
"Villaraigosa," writes the Bee, "turned against the local teachers union to help push a school-choice plan that was approved last month." (For a look at how one MacArthur Park neighborhood school is facing possible charter-takeover, see Friday's L.A. Daily post, "Public or Charter?")
Another hot-button issue has been test scores, which President Obama, who was solidly backed by teacher groups during his 2008 campaign, sees as legitimate indicators of student improvement -- and teacher effectiveness. Obama has threatened to tie federal stimulus money to such scores. While the UTLA has not blocked any federal- or state-mandated tests, last spring the UTLA launched a teacher boycott, since called off, of schools' periodical assessments of student work normally conducted by its members.
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"They're in flux," the Bee quotes Jaime Regalado on the relationships between teacher unions and their old allies. Regalado heads Cal State L.A.'s
Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute, a non-profit devoted to public policy
issues. "There's no question about that. [T]eacher unions feel somewhat