Teachers Unions exist to advance the interests of their members. Unions present themselves as student advocates while pushing education policies that work for their members even if they leave kids worse off. Everywhere school choice of any kind.; KIPP is a good example, wherever these choice programs are established and even while they are being planned, the teacher's unions oppose and try to discredit ANY choice schools in every manner their extensive war chest funds permits.
The Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore, started in 2002, is one of the best schools in Baltimore and all of Maryland; it is primarily low income and %98 are black and 84% qualify for for free or reduced price meals. Now, the Baltimore Teachers Union, Maryland charter school law requires teachers to be part of the union, is demanding that the school pay its teachers 33% more than city public school teachers despite the fact that these teachers are already being paid 18% above the union scale.
in New York City, private money was raised to hire classroom teaching assistants. The United Federation of Teachers in 2008 filed grievances against the schools. "It's hurting our union members". Even though the city didn't have the money for teacher's assistants, the city caved in to the union and discontinued the practice.
What a shame. (Source - Editorial Page of the WSJ, 8/3/09).
This is only one instance I have in dozens of articles of why the powerful teachers unions along with weak school boards and public apathy are killing the Public School System.