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Minn. Union Head in Hot Seat Over Seating

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You'd think that people would've learned by now that appearances are nine-tenths of the game in politics.

Strangely, an official of Minnesota's state teachers' union was placed at the same table as legislators at a recent hearing on the state's Race to the Top bid, not with other witnesses. Republicans on the committee flipped out, proclaiming it a sign of the union's undue influence on education policy.

Education Minnesota chief Tom Dooher didn't ask any questions of the lawmakers, according to news reports, and claims that he didn't know where he was to be seated until he arrived in the chamber. Lawmakers, nevertheless, promptly passed a procedural rule to prevent lobbyists from sitting at the same table as legislators.

Awkward stuff because the union has been a key opponent of legislation supported by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, to create alternative routes to certification and make the state's alternative Q-Comp compensation system mandatory. The state's RTTT bid largely mirrored that legislation.

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