The power of the teachers unions over the Democratic party is clearly illustrated by the sad fate of the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, which gives almost entirely poor minority kids a voucher and chance to attend a private school. It's been successful -- a lot of kids have been able to escape dangerous government schools and the parents are just tickled. But the District is a federal enclave, so the budget comes from the feds, and despite all the brave talks about Education Sec. Arne Duncan being a brave and bold reformer, the administration decided to provide just enough money for those already wenrolled and no more.
However, Joe Liebrman and some others have a bill to restore the program. Harry Reid hasn't brought it to a vote yet and seems in no hurry to do so. But there's some hope. I'm a separation of school and state kinda guy myself, but anything that weakens the government monopoly on schooling even a little bit is welcome