Death by Ink
Mark Twain once advised people to "never start a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel". It's a lesson that the New York State United Teachers union might do well to learn. On January 13, John Stossel hosted an ABC special called Stupid in America. In it, he focused on public schools, private schools, educational vouchers, and other forms of school choice. He was critical of the union for their role in protecting bad teachers, at the expense of students. The union didn't react well to the criticism. Unfortunately for them, Stossel buys ink by the barrel.
Ever since Stupid in America aired, Stossel has been writing weekly columns about school choice and the teachers' union. The first six columns (Myth: Schools don't have enough money, Trapped in the wrong government school, Learning to read in South Carolina, Time for choice and competition, Union bosses get in the way of common sense, and Unions fight to protect the nightmare) recap the content of his ABC special. His most recent columns (The teachers unions are mad at me and Time to teach) are a direct response to the attacks he's received from the union.
I don't think this is a war that the unions can win. John can keep writing columns about school choice indefinitely. With each new column, he can print more facts and figures about the problems and inefficiencies of the union. The more they attack, the more damage John can do to them. The damage may be exponential as well. In his most recent column, he tells how the union chanted "Teach, John, teach!" outside of his door. They wanted him to go into a public school and teach for a week. It's an offer that Stossel has accepted. Will the union actually follow through or was it all a bluff? Either way, I'm not sure it will come out looking any better than it already has.