May 9, 2016
NEA Sends $1.5 Million to Fight Opportunity District Initiative in Georgia. The National Education Association pledged up to $1.5 million to the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) to fight Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to establish an “Opportunity School District” for “chronically failing public schools.” The measure passed the Georgia legislature and must now go before the voters for approval in November.
GAE is bitterly opposed to the idea and is devoting its own resources to the battle. However, the state affiliate is extremely weak both in membership and money. It was inevitable that NEA would ride to the rescue. Nor is Georgia its only destination.
NEA will also send $2 million to the Oregon Education Association to combat two proposed initiatives regarding public sector collective bargaining in the state. Initiative Petition 62 would essentially do away with the state’s agency fee laws, while Initiative Petition 69 would eliminate exclusive representation for those who don’t want to represented by the incumbent union. Both measures are still in the midst of the certification process.
While those two efforts are to defeat others’ proposals, NEA will support a tax increase measure sponsored by the Maine Education Association. The national union will send $500,000 to MEA to assist in passing a ballot initiative that would impose a 3% surcharge on households with income greater than $200,000.
These grants might seem like a large layout of cash from NEA at one time, but the national union’s Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund remains flush with $58 million even after these contributions are completed.
Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics May 3-9:
* Anatomy of an NEA Factoid. NEA’s attempts to manipulate press coverage of charters don’t stand up to scrutiny.
* Union Members: Pivotal or Pivoting? Unions can only lure back Sanders supporters by talking about Trump.
* UTLA Aims to Become Dual NEA/AFT Affiliate. No 50-50 split.
* South Carolina Education Association’s Finances. NEA’s weakest state affiliate.
* NEA Rhode Island’s Finances. No discernible problems.
Quote of the Week #1. “I am aware that Shelly Silver has been convicted of corruption-related offenses. However, the programs described above are just a few of the many educational programs he successfully initiated, supported and negotiated. I ask that, when sentencing him, Your Honor take into account his good works in fighting for and promoting education throughout the state.” – Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in a March 14 letter to U.S. district court Judge Valerie Caproni on behalf of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. (April 21 The Journal News)
Quote of the Week #2. “I hope the sentence I impose on you will make other politicians think twice, until their better angels take over. Or, if there are no better angels, perhaps the fear of living out one’s golden years in an orange jumpsuit will keep them on the straight and narrow.” – Judge Caproni, while sentencing Silver to 12 years in prison, a $1.75 million fine, and $5 million in restitution. (May 3 The Daily Beast)