1) Ohio Education Association Plans Constitutional
Amendment for 2007 Ballot. The Ohio Education Association Representative
Assembly passed a new business item earlier this month that sets the stage
for placing a constitutional amendment on the November 2007 ballot to
address school funding.
The agenda item calls on the union to "use all
necessary resources and take a leadership role to work with the governor,
legislature and coalition partners to draft and support a constitutional
amendment to guarantee a quality public education as a fundamental right for
all children in the state of Ohio."
The item goes on to direct that the proposed amendment
include provisions for growth in school expenditures and an end to what the
union sees as an over-reliance on local property taxes. If agreement is not
reached with the governor and legislature, the union plans to use the ballot
initiative process to place the issue before the voters in the November 2007
EIA readers got wind of this last June (see
Item #6), but the delegate action makes the effort official union
2) NEA Disclaims NCLB "Dismantling" Petition.
When it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act, NEA will happily embrace
arguments made by states' rights proponents, but it's uncomfortable with the
public discussion of one possible outcome of its efforts: the dismantling of
An organization called the
Educator Roundtable has posted "a petition calling for the dismantling
of the No Child Left Behind Act." NEA headquarters was prompted to
distribute an internal memo about it.
"Information about the
petition and calls for signing it have been circulating on many email
lists," reads the memo from NEA President Reg Weaver and Executive Director
John Wilson. "Affiliates, NEA staff, and others are asking questions about
the petition and whether or not NEA endorses it. The short answer?
NEA says the petition "does
not propose any positive changes or alternatives" and that "some of the
petition's initiators have been critical of NEA and our efforts around NCLB."
The petition website is
Philip Kovacs, but it appears to bear the stamp of the second signature
on the petition –
Indeed, NEA's reaction is the
subject of not one, but two, "NCLB Outrages" on Ohanian's web site.
"What is the NEA leadership
afraid of?" Ohanian asks. "That its members might think for themselves?"
Those are two short questions
deserving of one long answer, but it will be more fun watching NEA and
Ohanian thrash it out for themselves.
3) Alabama Education Association Increases PAC
Deduction. The national NEA and most of its state affiliates are
required to raise PAC contributions through solicitation, like any other
special interest PAC. In a few states, however, the law allows unions to
deduct PAC money (for state campaigns) from the paychecks of members along
with their dues. The funds are segregated upon collection, but the process
leaves most teachers in those states unaware that they are contributing PAC
money to the union with every paycheck.
Alabama is one of these states (California is another).
At its recent delegate assembly, representatives of the Alabama Education
Association approved an increase of this PAC deduction to $3 per month. AEA
has about 72,000 active employed members in the state's public schools, so
that chunk of change goes a long way to explain how a union can survive and
thrive in the deep South.
4) Scheduling Note. There will be no communiqué
next week, but we will return on Tuesday, January 2. Intercepts will
be updated daily for the rest of this week, and as circumstances warrant
during Christmas week.
5) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from December 11-18:
Management by Torquemada. A medieval torture rack in a Nebraska
parochial school… but it's the Lutherans!
What would Davey do?
Check for Me, But Not for Thee. Singlehandedly, the Boston Teachers
Union undermines the arguments for the Employee Free Choice Act.
nostalgic lament for Ebonics in American Heritage. Wack.
Quote of the Week.
that people are making allegations and have absolutely no proof to back up
their allegations." – Clark County Education Association President Mary Ella
Holloway. The union's foundation runs a training program that offers college
credits to teachers at the top of the salary scale, enabling them to receive
a one-time $3,000 pay increase. The union foundation charges $200 per
credit. The state offers the same training program and charges $45 per
credit. Could it be an intricate union scheme to prove that the public
sector can provide the same service cheaper than the private sector?
Las Vegas Review-Journal)