It only took six years, but the Martinez Administration has officially “declared war” on the teachers unions. In a recent speech, Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said, “We have an entrenched political establishment called unions that fundamentally enjoy keeping us where we are because they serve the adults… At the end of the day, the politics around the adult issues have too many times sacrificed our kids and their education.”
If anything, Skandera could be criticized for taking so long to state the obvious. This actually follows a trend we’ve picked up on in which the Martinez Administration has taken a more direct and active approach in making its points. We welcome this trend although at this point it is unlikely that we’ll see any significant education reform initiatives in the waning days of the Martinez Administration.
Unfortunately, early on when she had momentum and the “bully pulpit,” rather than pushing hard on school choice (clear messaging, strong polling), Martinez attempted to impose a convoluted, centralized accountability system that has not worked out particularly well and will likely be dismantled by her successor. The unions were going to oppose whatever Martinez did, so she should have gone after something big and lasting (it is tough to take school choice away once parents have it).