Why We're Failing Our Schools

The U.S. government has billions of dollars to spend on public education, but teachers' unions are standing in the way

Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME

School reform

A remarkable thing happened in New York recently: the state legislature, in effect, turned down the chance to win $700 million in federal money. No one does that, except extremely conservative Southern governors (who inevitably relent and take the money) — oh, and occasionally teachers' unions. A few years ago, I wrote here about the Detroit union that forced the local government to reject a $200 million philanthropic gift to build 15 charter schools using a model that was already succeeding in the city. And now we have New York's United Federation of Teachers (UFT), a storied crew, thwarting the state's...

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