A few years ago in Washington D.C., then-mayor Adrian Fenty brought in the extraordinarily unqualified Michelle Rhee to lead the schools. She was mediocre at best, managing to alienate both her teachers and large segments of the community. As a result, Fenty - seen as quite arrogant himself - lost his bid for reelection decisively.
These days in Chicago, now-mayor Rahm Emanuel brings in Jean-Claude Brizzard, fresh off a failure in Rochester, NY, to lead the schools. Emanuel has managed to alienate teachers so much that they are now on strike for the first time in 25 years, even though both sides admit the strike is not about pay. Emanuel is universally viewed as arrogant - even among his allies.
I make this parallel because politicians on both the left and the right seem to think that reforminess and teacher-bullying are hugely popular among the electorate. Neither side views Fenty as a cautionary tale.
But it would be hard to ignore the negative political effects of getting behind corporate reform if Emanuel tanks in his next election. Let's hope he gets everything that's coming to him...
You mean voters don't love it when I do this to teachers?