From the Wall Street Journal:
As the tension over New York City teacher layoffs continues to mount, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan weighed in—sort of.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is threatening to lay off 4,600 teachers, but he wants the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to change the law mandating that teachers be laid off on a “last in, first out” basis. The mayor is seeking to lay off first teachers who have been convicted of crimes, have poor performance ratings and who are chronically absent.
Duncan has been loath to say in recent weeks where he stands on the issue of “last in, first out” laws. But in a conference call with reporters Thursday, he seemed to go a little further than he had in the past.
“A law based on seniority doesn’t help kids and doesn’t help kids that need the most help,” Duncan said. When asked if he had spoken in recent days with Cuomo, Duncan replied: “I’ve talked with a lot of people.”
Education reform is one of those rare areas where the Obama administration has not earned an outright F. But note that it's like pulling teeth to get his people to say even something as obvious as this -- just plain unassailable common sense -- and even then the statement is formulated as weakly as possible.
This is another angle of the Wisconsin fight -- another clear sign that the modern Democratic Party will be out of step with the public until it makes itself less dependent on public-sector unions for its campaign money and manpower.