I attended an interesting panel discussion at the Los Angeles Central Library last night moderated by journalist and Fox and Hounds Daily contributor Joe Mathews on the topic: Do Teachers Unions Have Too Much Power Or Not Enough?

The question never was answered directly, but one thing that stood out was the idea from Joshua Pechthalt, vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles, for a teachers’ army. Pechthalt noted that teachers have a “footprint in every community in the country” and suggested they could serve as a catalyst for social change.

The way he expressed his idea, it sounded eerily like a plan consisting of hidden cells planted around the country that would rise up at the same time and march forward to pursue a liberal agenda that he listed in his remarks. Not that a social or political movement spurred on by ideas is unprecedented in this country. But what struck me was the underlying idea that all teachers think the same way and will carry out this program. I don’t believe that’s true.

Steve Barr, head of Greendot Charter Schools, also sat on the panel and had some compelling ideas on how to improve schools by bringing more money to the classroom and giving more control to teachers. Perhaps more on that at another time.