A journalist is convicted of espionage by a foreign nation after a short, secret trial. She starts a hunger strike in protest. Her civil rights have been violated. Freedom of the press is at stake.
Contrast her plight with the following situation: A large, bureaucratic school district is forced to lay off some teachers for financial reasons. The teachers … start a hunger strike. Am I missing something, here? I don’t see any breach of justice to warrant that degree of protest.
Teachers in Los Angeles have come face to face with one of the major drawbacks of the near-monopoly of public education. When the monolithic employer lays people off, there are few other entities to take up the slack and hire people. Proponents of a diverse education market usually emphasize the benefits for students, but the fact of the matter is, teachers are also better off when schools compete.
Schools in a competitive market fight hard to hold on to their best teachers, because otherwise those teachers would be snapped up by other schools, giving them an advantage in the race to attract students. And, when some schools do have to downsize, they’ll be balanced by more successful schools that are expanding, or by new schools that are opening.
Los Angeles teachers should give up their overwrought protests and call for market diversity instead.