The Tribalism of Teacher Unions

Laura Waters:

If the tribalism expressed at the RNC was about, as Krugman says, “drawing a line between us (white Christians) and them (everyone else),” Eskelson-Garcia uses the same tactic (if tribalism can be a tactic and not a defect — I’m trying to be generous here) when she draws a line between her own version of “us” — teachers who teach in traditional schools and pay union dues — and “them” — teachers who teach in charter schools and don’t pay union dues.

Cohen asks Eskelson-Garcia about NEA and AFT’s “movement to unionize charter school teachers”and notes “the obvious tensions between trying to limit the growth of charter schools, while making charter school teachers feel welcome in the labor movement. How has the NEA been threading this needle?”

In response Eskelson-Garcia describes a visit she made to a California charter school to talk to teachers who were former members of the state’s NEA affiliate. She tells Cohen,