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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Why does the right love the police but hate teachers? (rough draft)

Right wing columnist Dan Senor on the Bill Maher show repeated a new talking point making the rounds in right wing circles and that’s, if only Baltimore had more school choice then the riots would not have happened. Comedian D.L. Hughley pushed back and said “I wish you guys hated the police union as much as you hate the teacher’s union.”

It got me thinking why do the police get a pass with the right while the teacher unions are enemy number one, two if you count whatever terrorist group du jour they want to use to frighten their constituents.

Think about the parallels between the police and teachers. Both groups are highly unionized and both have had a hard time dealing with poverty.

A generation of get tough on crime, put more cops on the street and build more prisons hasn’t stopped poverty. It hasn’t jump started neighborhoods to prosperity. Sure crime rates might be down but at the same time graduation rates across the nation are up. However whenever a bad cop does something the right says, that’s just one bad apple, but when a bad teacher does something they use it as an indictment of the entire profession.

Where is merit pay for the police, or their VAM scores, how come the police are guaranteed more than one year of employment if they do well and teachers are not? Can you imagine the crisis there would be if law enforcement was saddled with the same type of policies that teachers are?

I think it boils down to two things, first the right has not figured out how to make a profit off of law enforcement, now it’s true there are lots of private prisons and sadly the scandals and mismanagement surrounding them have been legion. There however have been no calls to privatize the police like there has been with education. Nobody is saying let the private sector can do it cheaper and better.  

Next it is because teacher unions by and large have not supported republicans since they took a hard right turn twenty five years ago. They think how dare these low wage men and mostly women not support them and since that’s the case they have to be punished. I have heard some say it’s because teaching is a profession mostly made up of women and where there are other instances where the right has targeted women, I’m not quite ready to go that far.

Poverty is the real problem both teachers and the police are facing. Ignoring it in our schools and ignoring it in our streets has led to tragedies in both.

The police and teachers have been hamstrung by bad policies, the right however has given the police a pass while blaming teachers for things beyond their control.  

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