Thursday, November 10, 2011

Issue 2: Why Are Cops and Firefighters More Convincing Than Teachers?

In a move that comes as a relief to many public sector workers, Issue 2 won by a landslide in Ohio on Tuesday. Issue 2 is the ballot question that repealed the stripping of collective bargaining rights from public employees, including teachers and, more pointedly for the Issue at hand, police officers and firefighters.

Don't get me wrong, this public servant is pleased at the outcome, for Ohio public workers and for public workers around the country whose collective bargaining rights are under attack. But some commentators have observed that a series of advertisements that featured firefighters and police officers stating (correctly) that the law would have prevented these workers from, for example, organizing for staffing increases to more effectively prevent and fight fire and crime, persuaded many voters to decide for repeal. And that's great.

But I wonder why the appeal from uniformed heroes was necessary. I wonder why an appeal from teachers was deemed somehow less effective by, say, the AFL-CIO or the DLC. After all, the law would also have prevented teachers from bargaining for smaller class sizes or bigger supply budgets, issues that are just as crucial to the common good, if not perhaps as immediately dramatic.

Maybe we should just be glad that the repeal is happening. It really is good news. But I do wonder why teacher voices weren't heard.
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