What are the most reviled institutions in America? Next to big banks and oil companies, it's probably the teachers unions. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have more than 4 million members between them and spend tens of millions on lobbying and other political activities every year. Legislators in both parties are moving to reduce their bargaining power and limit their pension booty. Last year's ballyhooed documentary Waiting for Superman makes teachers union leaders look like Al Capone with a picket sign. Parents demand to know why Billy and Susie's lousy first-grade teacher gets lifelong job protection when assembly-line workers are laid off by the thousands.
Gas prices have been surging to record highs. But it's not just the gas bill that drivers are getting socked with. The costs of car insurance, tires, licensing and registration are on the rise, too. But there are some strategies you can use to cut the cost of owning your car.
Jonathan Hash, a history teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego, is enthusiastic about the teaching career he began two years ago. But now he might lose his job because of a statewide budget crisis, and that could force him to leave teaching altogether.
Democrats vote today in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii, where more than a few caucus quirks leave some wags predicting a respectable showing by Howard Dean. Combined, these small states have more delegates than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Wisconsin. But as Dean now knows, this race is not just about delegates. It's about mo'. And as John Edwards has decided, you get no mo' in Idaho.
Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization" Monday as he argued that the country's largest teachers union often acts at odds with the wishes of rank-and-file teachers regarding school standards and accountability.