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Teachers’ Unions Look to Clinton to Save Them

To say the relationship between the Obama administration and the national teachers unions is strained would be an understatement.

Democrats and unions have historically enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with Democrats backing pro-union policies, such as protecting bargaining rights, and unions using their coffers and numbers to back Democratic candidates who support their causes. And the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers were critical in helping mobilize the youth vote to propel the then-freshman senator from Illinois into the White House.

But since his election, Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan haven’t been what the unions were hoping for. Instead, they’ve overseen a period of significant change in the K-12 space, helping and even pushing states to adopt education policies that unions opposed. Among them, the expansion of charter schools, teacher evaluation and compensation systems based in part on student test scores, and shuttering poor-performing schools.