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The Democratic Party's education wars just got real

A protest against school closings in Chicago.
A protest against school closings in Chicago.
Kenneth Ilio/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Teachers' unions and much of the Democratic party have been coming apart behind the scenes for quite awhile, but the rift burst into the open this week when one of the two biggest unions, the National Education Association, called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation.

The American Federation of Teachers, the other, could still end up doing the same if its members want this weekend. Today, AFT announced the launch of a new political group — Democrats for Public Education — to counter the dominance of education reformers.

Democrats for Education Reform's response was, basically, "Bring it on." That's not an exaggeration; their executive director's statement, in full: