1) What's Happening at Education Minnesota? EIA
doesn't like stories with less than full information, but something
is going on at Education Minnesota, the merged state affiliate of both NEA
and AFT, and it has to do with personnel changes. Some of these are clearly
related, some are unrelated, some are ordinary and others are not, but here
July 2005: Vice President Marc Doepner-Hove resigns
after a year on the job. The union explains that Doepner-Hover has "his own
vision for the future of our union and that it differs from the direction
being taken by the rest of the leadership team."
April 2006: President Judy Schaubach and
Secretary-Treasurer Carmen Peters announce they will not seek reelection
when their terms expire in 2007.
July 2007: Tom Dooher takes office as president.
At some point in 2007, Larry Wicks ceases to be the
executive director. If he retired, mention of it is notable in its absence.
Michael Dean becomes interim executive director. If it is the same Michael
Dean, he resigned as the union's communications director in May 2006 to
become a public radio station manager. The union is seeking a
September 21, 2007: Dean, under Dooher's orders,
permanently relieves General Counsel Harley Ogata and Deputy Executive
Director Greg Burns of their duties, effective immediately.
There are rumors that two other managers have been
axed, but EIA has been unable to confirm them. Nor can EIA even infer a
motive for the sudden personnel moves. However, they have caused concern
within the staff union. As is the case with most unions, Education
Minnesota's managers and department heads serve at the pleasure of the
president. Only the mid-level professionals and support staffers enjoy union
The last NEA state affiliate to have such an
experience, the South Carolina Education Association, is still picking up
the pieces (see
Item #3 here). The latest word is that former New Jersey Education
Association Executive Director (and current Communities for Quality
Education treasurer) Robert Bonazzi is in South Carolina, organizing
"listening tours" of members throughout the state. EIA hears that SCEA will
contribute $5 to the cost of your meal with the union's president, vice
president and acting executive director, so come hungry.
2) Solidarity Easier When Members and Money Not
Involved. Generally speaking, labor unions cooperate with each other
despite differences in goals and areas of expertise. Their exemption from
anti-trust laws enables them to form cartels, set jurisdictions for
organizing, and keep competitors out of their market. But just because they
cooperate doesn't mean they always agree.
It would be difficult for an outsider to discern any
real difference between the Change to Win federation and the AFL-CIO, the
coalition from which Change to Win seceded. But the split shook things up in
Big Labor, enabling NEA to establish a "labor
solidarity partnership" with AFL-CIO in its wake. However, despite
repeated attempts, NEA has been unable to reach a similar arrangement with
Change to Win.
The reason isn't difficult to figure out. One of Change
to Win's member unions, the Teamsters, is locked in an ongoing battle with
NEA in Las Vegas over education support personnel. And now the Teamsters
have begun a campaign to organize the city's teachers, who also belong to
Both the Teamsters and the Service Employees
International Union, another Change to Win member, see
school bus drivers and other education support employees as a growth sector
for them. Unfortunately, these employees are also a growth sector for NEA,
which doesn't have nearly the same saturation in the support professions as
it does in teaching. Such quarrels are inevitable when operating in a
A similar squabble is evident in California, where the
California Federation of Teachers is supporting a ballot initiative that
would alter the state's public education funding formula to provide
more money for community colleges. A large chunk of CFT's members work
in higher education. However, the much larger California Teachers
Association opposes the initiative. Most of its members are in K-12.
However, CTA does have an affiliate of community college members, and it
continue its support of the initiative, contrary to CTA's wishes.
3) Reader Names for NCLB 2.0. Prompted by a
Washington Post story, last week I asked readers to submit a new name
for the reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act. Many were creative, blunt or
snarky, but I was hoping for something, well, a little more clever and a
little less connected to NCLB. That, after all, is supposed to be the point
of changing the name in the first place.
So here are some of the suggestions, though I'll leave
the gates open for another week to see if we can get a catchphrase that
captures the essence of NCLB's history plus the Miller-McKeon discussion
draft, without referencing the words "no child left behind."
Educators Quit Whining and Get On With It Act
No Teacher Left Alone
No Child Learning Basics
ABCDEFGHIK Law (Always Believing Children Deserve
Education's Finest Gifted Honorable Intellectually Justified Knowledge Law)
Learning Is a Civil Right Act of 2008
Robots R Us
Goals 2000 on Crack
No Platitude Left Behind
No Child Left a Mind
4) No Cheesecake Substitute Teachers for NEA This
Year. To celebrate American Education Week, NEA has revived its poll
which public figure you would most like to see teaching for a day. Last
year's winner was
Jessica Alba, inciting NEA President Reg Weaver into a strained
comparison between Ms. Alba and America's substitute teachers.
This year's options avoid such problems: J.K. Rowling,
Steven Spielberg, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, and America Ferrera. Currently
Tiger Woods is holding a three-stroke lead over Bill Gates.
5) Scheduling Note. The next issue of the
EIA Communiqué will appear on Tuesday, October 9.
6) Last Week's Intercepts. EIA's blog,
Intercepts, covered these topics from September 24-October 1:
Teachers Union Rescinds Its Own Newsletter. All the news that's fit to
Teacher Retention in California. The world of public radio trembles.
Teacher Turnover Caused by… Teachers? "I'm going to give you five years,
and then I'm moving on."
Quote of the Week.
"Sometimes they'll beg you to stay. It can be heartbreaking." – Vershaun
Howze, boundary enforcer for the Hazelwood School District in Missouri.
Howze expels those nabbed in the act of "educational larceny," or attempting
school choice in the black market. (September 24
St. Louis Post-Dispatch)