1) EIA Exclusive: Proposed
Budget Shows No Recession at NEA Headquarters. The
economy may be staggering along, the labor movement
may be facing
financial problems, but the National Education Association
continues to let the good times roll.
The proposed 2009-10 NEA budget
forecasts $355.8 million in revenue, an increase of $10 million over this
year. The headlines warn us of massive teacher layoffs across the nation,
but NEA modified its projection of new teacher members upward. Originally
expecting an increase of 5,000 new teacher members for 2009-10, the latest
proposed budget now predicts 7,000 new teacher members.
The union's Program and Budget
Committee, responsible for constructing the budget that NEA delegates will
vote on in July at the Representative Assembly, described it in terms
usually employed only when austerity is called for: "As we embark on the
second year of the 2008-10 Strategic Plan and Budget we are faced with an
economy in recession, all levels of government under financial stress, and
public education and education employees facing many challenges. The
Committee has taken this environment seriously and has ensured that the
modified budget reflects the realities of the current economic conditions."
Nevertheless, virtually every NEA
program will receive more funding, and spending on salaries and benefits for
employees will increase 7.7%, even though the union is funding five fewer
positions than in 2008-09.
The budget was put together prior to
with NEA's staff union, but it already provided for
salary/benefit expenditures of more than $118 million for a staff of 555.
Not included in that total are wages for
the union's three executive officers, members of the Executive Committee,
and various state affiliate executive directors who are paid by the national
union. These payments will increase a modest 2.2%, largely due to the NEA
president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer taking no pay hike in
2009-10. They will have to scrape by on the more than $338,000 in taxable
income they'll each make next year.
The budget was also created before NEA
established a trusteeship over the Indiana State Teachers Association and
pledged to bail out
ISTA's insurance trust. Despite the massive amounts of revenue,
the NEA budget cannot absorb such a large unexpected expense. The obvious
lesson of these numbers, however, is that NEA can easily act as guarantor
for any loans or credit extended to ISTA, using future dues revenues as
While NEA's financial picture is rosy,
it is predicated on its equally rosy membership projections. This suggests
either the union is being unrealistic, or it believes there will end up
being a lot fewer teacher layoffs than the
2) PR Firm Solicitation of the Week.
A few weeks ago, I let you know about one of the many solicitations I
receive for publicity and promotion of various people, products and
services, just because I have an education blog. They're getting
progressively more bizarre so I thought I'd make it a semi-regular
The latest is from the PR firm
Slacker.com, an Internet radio service. They want me to know that
they've just created a new station called "Grad Party," and that if I do a
giveaway on my blog, they'll offer a one-year subscription worth $3.99 per
No thanks, dudes, but I urge all the
slackers among my readership to stop trying to identify poisonous fungi and
head over there. Because if you're reading an education blog you obviously
have a lot of time on your hands.
3) Contract Hits.
Wherein we highlight a contract provision from the current agreement between
the National Education Association and its largest staff union. This is
Article 18, Section 1:
"NEA reserves the right to take actions
which may be necessary for economic reasons or to improve the efficiency
and/or effectiveness of its operations, including structural reorganization
and to lay off or involuntarily transfer employees in implementation of such
actions. If the Union contends that a layoff resulting from any such action
is not intended to achieve such purposes, it may submit the matter to the
grievance and arbitration procedure."
4) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from June 8-15:
Three Cheers for Self-Interest! Admitting your own means you must accept
that of others.
Closed-Door Bargaining and the Union Padlock. Only two sides to a
One of Every Four ISTA Staffers Gets Layoff Notice. Balancing budgets on
the backs of workers.
Education Action Group Expands Into Indiana. Tomorrow, the world.
Layons. Some stay. Some go. Some are told they're going, but stay
5) Quote of the Week.
"Over the last three decades the number of history faculty members at
four-year institutions has more than doubled to 20,000-plus, said Robert B.
Townsend, assistant director for research at the American Historical
Association. Yet the growth has been predominantly in the newer
specializations, spurring those in diplomatic, military, legal and economic
history to complain they are being squeezed out.
"In 1975, for
example, three-quarters of college history departments employed at least one
diplomatic historian; in 2005 fewer than half did. The number of departments
with an economic historian fell to 31.7 percent from 54.7 percent. By
contrast the biggest gains were in women’s history, which now has a
representative in four out of five history departments." – Patricia Cohen.
New York Times)