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Commentary By John Ketcham

‘Not Accountable’ Review: Unelected Legislators

Fearful of angering public-employee unions, politicians bend to their will at taxpayer expense. Can this arrangement be challenged in court?

In 2008, six years after securing control over New York City’s public schools, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools chancellor Joel Klein put forward a program to tie teacher tenure to student performance. The goal was to reward the best-performing teachers with job security, encourage better student outcomes, and hold teachers accountable for demonstrated results. To most New York residents, it surely sounded like a good idea.

To New York’s teachers’ unions, however, the program was utterly unacceptable. Union leaders lobbied Albany, threatened state lawmakers (who could pass legislation binding the mayor) with the loss of political support, and walked away with a two-year statewide prohibition on the use of student test performance in tenure evaluations. In short, the union thwarted the mayor’s authority over the city’s schools and commandeered the state’s legislative power.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall) ______________________ John Ketcham is a fellow and director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute Photo by James Keyser/Getty Images