1) NEA Media and Ballot Initiative Allocations.
Each year, NEA receives a special dues assessment from each member to
provide cash for its Media Campaign Fund and Ballot Measure/Legislative
Crisis Fund. It is important to note that this money is entirely separate
from the union's PAC fund, which is governed under federal campaign finance
rules and is used exclusively for contributions to candidates for
federal office. The special funds enable NEA to involve itself in both
national and state political issues as they arise.
EIA informed you of the funds' major disbursements as
they occurred (here,
item #2 here, for example), but delegates to the Representative Assembly
are given a comprehensive list of allocations, which I excerpt here.
NEA budgeted $5 million for its Media Campaign Fund for
2007-08, and allocated the lion's share of it - $3.5 million – "to support
the Association's campaign for the reauthorization of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act." The rest of the money was distributed to the
following state affiliates in the following amounts:
Florida Education Association - $150,000
Iowa State Education Association - $90,000
Kentucky Education Association - $60,000
Mississippi Association of Educators - $100,000
Missouri NEA - $85,000
New Jersey Education Association - $150,000
North Carolina Association of Educators - $40,000
North Dakota Education Association - $84,000
Oregon Education Association - $150,000
Tennessee Education Association - $150,000
Texas State Teachers Association - $192,000
The issues differed from state to state, but most state
affiliate advertising campaigns – print, radio and television – had some NEA
money behind them, particularly if the state affiliate is small.
The recipients of the 2008-09 state grants have already
been named, though they will not have access to the funds until after
NEA Alaska - $125,000
Arizona Education Association - $60,000
Colorado Education Association - $89,500
Maine Education Association - $100,000
Maryland State Teachers Association - $138,000
Mississippi Association of Educators - $125,000
Missouri NEA - $100,000
New Jersey Education Association - $150,000
NEA New Mexico - $75,000
North Dakota Education Association - $125,000
Pennsylvania State Education Association - $70,000
South Carolina Education Association - $125,000
Texas State Teachers Association - $225,000
Utah Education Association - $150,000
Vermont NEA - $50,000
Wisconsin Education Association Council - $85,000
The 2007-08 fiscal year was a relatively slow one for
the Ballot Measure/Legislative Crisis Fund. Installments totaling $2,338,353
went toward the Utah voucher referendum battle ($1 million was sent in the
previous fiscal year). The rest went as follows:
Florida Education Association - $200,000 to oppose
property tax cuts
Massachusetts Teachers Association - $60,000 to oppose
state income tax repeal
Hawaii State Teachers Association - $20,000 for polling
about constitutional convention
Oklahoma Education Association - $40,500 for public
opinion research about funding initiative
Nebraska State Education Association - $40,000 to
support an Education Trust Fund
Missouri NEA - $195,000 for collective bargaining
Delaware State Education Association - $10,000 for
polling about charter schools
Idaho Education Association - $100,000 to oppose tenure
and performance pay legislation
Unlike most previous years, NEA finished 2007-08 with a
surplus of nearly $5.9 million, which means the union will enter the 2008-09
school year with almost $20 million available to spend.
2) To Bio or Not to Bio. New Jersey Education
Association President Joyce Powell had a rough weekend. And it probably
won't be much comfort to her that I am about to come to her defense.
The Bergen Record published a story last Friday
revealing that Powell's bio, posted on the New Jersey Education Association
web site and subsequently re-used elsewhere,
contained two inaccuracies. First, it said Powell became an Eagleton
Fellow at Rutgers University. She was, in fact, a teaching associate, not a
fellow. Second, it claimed Powell was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Glassboro
State College. Phi Beta Kappa had no chapter at Glassboro.
NJEA removed the references and posted an updated bio
on its site (the
current one is here; the Google cache of the
controversial one is here). "I'll admit I never read it, and the wrong
thing was put down," Powell told reporters. "It was a mistake, absolutely a
mistake." NJEA's practice is for communications staffers to write the bios.
Some commenters have found Powell's statement
incredible, but if you take a look at the bio, I think it's entirely
believable, and helps explain the entire screw-up.
Powell's bio contains such a long list of positions and
honors that it would make little sense to intentionally falsify those
particular two. And since the bio was not used to obtain other positions and
honors, there appears to be no intent to deceive.
The bio is so long and detailed neither Powell nor
anyone else would be likely to read all the way through it. The length
itself is status, rather than the contents. This method is far from unique
to teachers' unions, but NEA is especially susceptible to it. For example,
new NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen published 70 positions and honors
she held and received on one page of campaign material for that office. And
she was running unopposed.
So while it was external fact-checkers who caught these
errors, maybe internal editing for length would have prevented them in the
first place. And made for a more readable bio.
Powell has been taking a PR beating, but better now
than later. At last month's Representative Assembly, she announced her
candidacy for the National Education Association Executive Committee.
3) Invisible Ink in Collective Bargaining.
Emily Cohen, Kate Walsh and RiShawn Biddle over at the
National Council on Teacher Quality have done us all a service by
metaphorically drawing our attention to "the
curious incident of the dog in the night-time" – that is, what isn't
contained in most collective bargaining agreements.
In their report,
Invisible Ink in Collective Bargaining, the authors explain that
many of the provisions we ascribe to the collective bargaining process
actually exist in state law. Current policies on teacher tenure, evaluations
and dismissals owe more to lobbyists and legislators than to school boards
and UniServ directors.
The current state of affairs explains why seniority
provisions are virtually identical in Houston (no teacher contract) and
Philadelphia (strict teacher contract), or why "bumping" rules exist in
Mobile, Alabama. It also explains why non-bargaining states generally are
not models of public education flexibility and innovation.
Being single-issue organizations, teachers' unions have
an obvious advantage in this atmosphere. "As unions have matured, their
leaders have realized that it is more efficient to lobby state legislatures
on particular provisions than to negotiate district by district every few
years as contracts expire," the authors write.
4) Last Week's Intercepts. EIA's blog,
Intercepts, covered these topics from July 21-28:
Welcome to the New Intercepts. Redesigned, cleaned up, and
hopefully a lot more readable, but with the same content you've come to
Van Roekel Is President of What? Avoiding the "u" word.
Incentive Pay. Come up with the PAC money or it'll cost ya.
5) Quote of the Week #1. "In public employment,
they have the right not to belong, but I still must represent them. If under
the law we're obligated to represent every employee, then it's only fair
that every employee pays something toward the cost of being represented." –
New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi, after the
legislature made the state's agency fee law permanent. (July 24
New York Times)
Quote of the Week #2. "Iannuzzi's language is
fairly typical among union officials (they frequently use the term 'fair
share' to describe the dues they seize from nonmembers to pay for unwanted
'representation'). But painting union bosses as hapless victims of the very
special privileges they got enacted is absolutely absurd. Exclusive
representation -- monopoly bargaining -- is a statutory power given to
unions precisely because union bosses lobbied for it.
I'd love to
call Iannuzzi's bluff -- will he and other union bosses actually consent to
lifting federal and state laws which give unions the special privilege of
monopoly bargaining?" – Nick Cote, commenting on the