Why the 2014 Newark mayoral race is so important to the teacher unions

Laura Waters:

Did you hear about last Monday’s “National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education?” Maybe not. Despite a media blitz from the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, despite allocations of $1.2 million of teachers’ union dues, despite organized protests in 90 cities across the country, this event had little impact.
For New Jersey, the more meaningful signal was sent by the AFT’s decision to hold its “Day of Action” in Newark. (Pennsylvanians headed over to Gov. Corbett’s Philly office on Broad Street.)
Newark, after all, is the heart of N.J. education reform territory and boasts the state’s most progressive teacher contract (signed last year with great acclaim), an extensive and successful cadre of charter schools that educates one in four public school students, and a superintendent whose latest initiative embraces parental empowerment through a universal enrollment plan. Some of that progress is at stake as Newark residents get ready to pick a replacement for Senator Cory Booker.