1) The Short List of NEA
Last week's blog item about NEA Republicans prompted some readers to
inquire as to the identities of these chosen few. Here they are:
Michael Castle (Delaware, at-large,
Gus Bilirakis (Florida, 9th
Mike Simpson (Idaho, 2nd
Mark Kirk (Illinois, 10th
Judy Biggert (Illinois, 13th
Tim Johnson (Illinois, 15th
Aaron Schock (Illinois, 18th
District, open Republican seat) The Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed
the Democratic challenger, Colleen Callahan.
John Shimkus (Illinois, 19th
Jerry Moran (Kansas, 1st
Fred Upton (Michigan, 6th
Sam Graves (Missouri, 6th
Frank LoBiondo (New Jersey, 2nd
Christopher Smith (New Jersey, 4th
Leonard Lance (New Jersey, 7th
District, open Republican seat) But NEA also endorsed his opponent, Democrat
John McHugh (New York, 23rd
Phil English (Pennsylvania, 3rd
Jim Gerlach (Pennsylvania, 6th
Charles Dent (Pennsylvania, 15th
Todd Platts (Pennsylvania, 19th
David Reichert (Washington, 8th
Jim Burkee (Wisconsin, 5th
District, challenger) As I mentioned last week, Burkee challenged and lost
to incumbent Republican Jim Sensenbrenner in a Sept. 9 primary. There is no
Democrat running in the district.
Burt Saunders is a Republican state
senator from Florida who received an NEA endorsement, but he is running as
an independent against incumbent Republican Connie Mack in the 14th
2) Oregon Education Association
Management Strikes Back. The Oregon Education
Association professional staff strike is now more than three weeks old. OEA
management fell far behind in the public relations battle and finally
decided to land a few blows of its own.
Last week, OEA headquarters began
updates" on the union web site, most of which detail the wages and
benefits the staff receives, and would receive under management's last
offer. Management claims staffers at the top of the scale (which includes
two-thirds of them) would receive a 32 percent increase in salary over 38
months. The current top of the scale is $104,583.
The management proposal also includes an
$8,400 per year automobile allowance with fully paid insurance, and full
family medical, dental and vision that will amount to $2,277 per employee
per month in the third year of the proposed contract.
Management also claims it needs a change
in the contract language on employee adjustment time because the current
contract allows staffers to "take off up to 50 consecutive work days each
year (10 weeks!) without preapproval from management."
The staff union claims that last week's
negotiations, with the help of big-wigs from NEA headquarters in DC, were
moving the sides closer to an agreement, but OEA management negotiators
decided it was time to go to binding arbitration. The staff union is
fighting against the idea.
With the UniServ directors on strike, a
couple of OEA local unions have been
forced to delay their contract negotiations with their school districts,
but it is otherwise difficult to find average Oregon teachers who either
know or care that their union headquarters building is being picketed by
their union's employees.
3) The Only "Idiots" in Colorado Are
the Useful Kind. The blogs in
elsewhere) lit up last week with the release of a confidential memo,
purportedly from the Colorado Democracy Alliance, in which the AFL-CIO is
assigned a campaign task - "Educate
the Idiots"- targeted to "minorities, GED's, drop-outs."
say the memo is a forgery, and I take them at their word, since people
have periodically tried to peddle similar cloak-and-dagger documents about
NEA to me over the years. To avoid
embarrassment, litigation and loss of credibility, it's a simple matter of
corroboration and/or provenance. People all along the political spectrum are
liable to fall for the story that's "too good to check."
The memo detracted from the real
shenanigans in Colorado, where
major business groups joined with state and national unions to give cash
and support to the union campaign against a ballot initiative to establish a
right-to-work law in Colorado. In return, the unions agreed to drop four
anti-business initiatives from the ballot. If these firms think paying
protection money is the way to go, then they deserve whatever future
beatings the unions lay on them.
NEA and its state and local affiliates
are the largest contributor to the Colorado labor coalition, having dropped
more than $1.3 million into the campaign. I
reported in July that NEA would have "almost $20 million available to
spend" from its ballot initiative fund. Without major education measures,
much of that money is going toward its labor and social agenda.
4) Stop the Presses!
Sifting through as many education
stories as I do has few rewards, but it's time to make lemonade from the
lemons. In what I expect will become a semi-regular feature, here are some
patently obvious or pointless headlines from various media outlets in the
face challengers in Central Unified" – October 6
unions oppose job cuts" – October 1 Associated Press
association supports programs" – October 2 Clay
worry about how to foot the bill for college" – October 4
receive mix of funds" – October 5 The Journal
5) Scheduling Note.
The next communiqué will appear on Tuesday, October 14.
6) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from September 29-October 6:
Field of Dreams. Increased enrollment requires more schools. So,
decreased enrollment must require… more schools?
The Payoff for Being an NEA Republican. An "A" on the NEA Legislative
Report Card isn't as important as a "D" next to your name.
Much Ado About Nothing. "Obama Blue Day" lives up to public school
7) Quote of
"Teachers' union says large classes lead to teen pregnancy." – headline from
October 5 Radio New Zealand story. I agree. Any class so big that
students are having sex in the back of the room is too big.