Wisconsin was fundamentally about whether teachers should be able to bargain collectively while Chicago was about specific demands for a new contract. That’s no small distinction (and see this news about Wisconsin’s law). But, if the teachers unions can’t show that collective bargaining doesn’t mean unchecked or irresponsible demands expect Walker’s approach to move from the margins to the mainstream as more and more cities and states are forced to confront the dual challenge of lousy schools and a shrinking public purse just as Chicago was. And that might be the biggest lesson of the strike – it’s a prelude to hard issues that will emerge elsewhere and if they’re not careful the unions will lose the war by winning these battles.
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