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“When education-reform activist Sarah Carpenter expressed skepticism about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to quadruple federal Title I funding for schools, Ms. Warren’s reply was remarkable.
“Listen, I understand that,” the senator said backstage after a November rally in Atlanta. “I got an increase in Child Development Block Grants of 85%, and I told all of my folks back in Massachusetts, ‘You’re gonna get an 85% raise at all of our little child-development centers.’ You know how much of a raise they got? Zero! Somehow it all went to the state government and never made it down.”
This is an amazing admission. It raises questions not only about Ms. Warren’s and her rivals’ proposals, but also the across-the-board increases in school spending that governors and state legislatures of both parties have undertaken in response to teacher strikes.
Red for Ed, the union-backed effort to raise teacher pay, has made state officials—especially Republicans—their bogeymen. Through strikes, sick-outs and rallies at state capitols, Red for Ed is pressuring lawmakers to open the spending spigots. Their tactics appear to be working, as even fiscally conservative governors such as Arizona’s Doug Ducey and Florida’s Ron DeSantis have proposed to raise teacher pay substantially.
Governors are convenient targets because they are high-profile politicians who oversee billions of dollars. But the unions know that state officials can do only so much. They don’t determine teachers’ salary schedules or schools’ staffing patterns—local school boards do. But for decades, those boards haven’t made teacher pay a priority.”
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