1) NEA to Spend $250,000 on
National Education Association will spend up to $250,000 on activities
related to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Part of the money
will be used to pay for "NEA presence at
Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, the union is also
setting its priorities and is expected to concentrate on a handful of
issues, including education funding, NCLB reauthorization, health care,
GPO/WEP and "21st
century skills" (which I would support if they were defined as the
ability to detect, analyze and evaluate hogwash).
The only good
news for education reformers is that NEA realizes it has to make some
movement on the alternative compensation front (merit pay, performance pay
and differential pay all being taboo terms), but hasn't figured out how to
do it "without creating internal association strife."
membership growth to flatten considerably in the next few years (not
if the history of school hiring is any indication), but income is
certainly not an issue. NEA's annual take is approaching the $400 million
threshold. The union is so flush with cash that even in an election year it
spent only $13 million out of an available $20.4 million from its Ballot
Measure/Legislative Crises Fund, a national war chest funded by a $10
assessment from each member.
to the inaugural expenditures, NEA will also send $250,000 to the
National Coalition on Health Care, and $1 million to Communities for
Quality Education, an NEA front group created as "America
Learns" in 2004. No word on whether CQE will use some of the money to
update its web site.
EIA will have
much more on NEA spending next week.
2) Farewell to OLMS.
President Bush wants to see the
No Child Left Behind Act continued, but his energy might have been
better spent trying to salvage the work of the U.S. Department of Labor's
Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
OLMS enforces the Labor-Management
Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, including "embezzlement from labor
organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members' rights
by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections." During the two
terms of the Bush administration, OLMS brought
1,004 indictments, resulting in 929 convictions, and payments or orders of
restitution totaling more than $93 million.
Even if he were so inclined, President
Obama's priorities will not include union misdeeds, so we can expect OLMS
and its mission to fall into neglect for the foreseeable future. So at the
same time we're likely to see the end of the secret ballot for union
representation elections, we'll also lose an official source of their
possible consequences. It's too bad.
3) Aren't They the Same Kids?
The Associated Press seems baffled by a trend in Nevada.
College enrollment in the state is up six percent, while K-12 enrollment
is up only 0.8 percent after decades of steady and substantial growth.
The AP credits this to a surge of
laid-off workers seeking new job skills, but doesn't the time difference
between K-12 and college have an effect? The last of the Baby Boomers' kids,
who fueled the K-12 enrollment increases, are now entering college, fueling
the college enrollment increases. Since there aren't as many kids replacing
them in K-12, elementary enrollment flattens. It's same wave of students
rolling through their school years.
4) Scheduling Note.
The next communiqué will appear on Tuesday, January 20.
5) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from January 7-12:
What Does Van Roekel Have in Mind? Will NEA officially join Big Labor?
The World Turned Upside Down. A union, state legislators, and campaign
finance entanglements, but not what you think.
"Tell Us Your Budget Crisis Stories." What do you mean "we," kemo sabe?
6) Quote of
"I don't see any conflict of interest in this because senators do not
negotiate contracts, the Guam Federation of Teachers is not a government of
Guam entity, and any gains made for the union I do not benefit from
personally." – Guam Federation of Teachers President Matt Rector, who was
elected to the Guam Senate. Rector will keep his union position, will use
taxpayer funds to rent office space from the union, and will sit as chair of
the senate committee that oversees labor issues. Rector says he will not
recuse himself from hearings that deal with the teachers' union. (January 13
Pacific Daily News)