The New York Times just ran a piece titled: “Can Labor Still Turn Out the Vote?”
It raises some interesting questions about the future of the Democratic party.
Total union membership is 14.8 million.
Private unions have 7.2 million members and public unions have 7.6 million members.
These numbers are going down.
Overall, declining union membership is being in large part driven by losses in the private sector:
When it comes to teachers unions, numbers are also in decline.
Overall, teacher union membership is about 2.5 million.
Charter enrollment, on the other hand, is going up:
This year, there are more students enrolled in charter schools than there are teacher union members.
To simplify a complicated issue: teachers unions, on average, do not support significant charter school expansion.
This may put them at odds with the millions of families who are enrolled, or who wish to enroll, in charter schools.
Of course, when it comes to politics, absolute numbers aren’t everything:
This raises the question: what would it take for charter school families to become more active? They will probably not be politicaly active at the level of unions, but in the near future they will be a sizable block, and their level of activity will affect Democratic politics.
I’m fairly confident that in the 5-7 years charter school enrollment will reach 5 million students.
At that point, charter school parents will out number teacher union membership by 2-3X.
In a better world (for me at least), this would be a non-story, as there would be no divide between these two groups.
But, right now, there is.
All of which leads to the question, who will be the education base of the Democratic Party in 2024?
And what if it is the children of other union members (construction, hospitality, etc) that are enrolling charter schools?
What alliances will form?