They are the ebony and ivory of teacher union leaders.

Dan Montgomery at 50 is tall, white and studious looking. Perfect for the high school English teacher he once was and for the thoughtful union leader he has become.

Karen Lewis is 60, not as tall, black and kinetic. Perfect for the chemistry teacher she once was and electric for the union leader she has become.

Montgomery of Evanston is the president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers with 103,000 members. Lewis is the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, a subset of IFT, with 30,000 teachers and school support personnel.

Today their classrooms are bigger ­— the city and the state. Two elections loom large. The 2014 governor’s race and the 2015 Chicago mayoral race.

The fight over education is as brutal as I have ever seen it.

And this past week provided perfect examples of what I mean.

CONTINUE READING AT SUNTIMES.COM.