ON-Lion Letter
In March, as part of the Intelligence Squared U.S.'s Oxford-style debate series, a group of six experts argued for and against the motion "Don't blame teachers unions for our failing schools" at New York University.  Intelligence Squared raises the level of public discourse on the most-critical issues of the day.  Its debates can be heard on more than 200 National Public Radio stations across the country and seen on the Bloomberg Television network.

In a survey before the debate, the audience voted 24% in favor of the motion absolving teachers unions from blame for failing schools and 43% voted against it.  A third of the audience was undecided.

The team of three people arguing for the proposition were Kate McLaughlin, executive vice president of the United Teachers of Lowell #495, a local of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Massachusetts; Gary Smuts, superintendent of the ABC Unified School District in California; and AFT president Randi Weingarten.

The three arguing against the motion were Stanford University political scientist and Hoover Institution senior fellow Terry Moe; former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige; and Los Angeles elementary-school teacher Larry Sand.

Moe, Paige, and Sand moved the most minds in the debate.  Sixty-eight percent of the audience disagreed with the motion by the end of the debate, 25% supported it, and 7% remained undecided.

The debate was moderated by John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' Nightline program.  Audio and video of the event are available online, as is a full transcript.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports Intelligence Squared U.S.
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