1) Coming Up Next: $5 Million
Campaign to Reauthorize ESEA. For most of this
year, NEA has devoted the lion's share of its manpower and resources to
passing an edujobs bill. The union called on all its champions in Congress
and sought to have the measure attached to any possible legislative vehicle.
The fact that it will come up for a vote today after being declared dead
several times in the past few weeks is a testament to NEA's dogged
determinism to preserve its membership base.
Win, lose or draw, the union is already
moving on its next item of business: reauthorization of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA). NEA is adamantly opposed to the Obama
for reauthorization and wants to substitute its own "positive
To that end, NEA has allocated $5
million from its Ballot Initiative and Legislative Crises fund to pay for
its efforts this year and next. The first public evidence of the campaign
will be the organizing of a "day of action" in each state between August 7
and September 12.
There doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm
for placing ESEA reauthorization at the top of the congressional agenda, but
we didn't think we would still be writing about edujobs in August either.
This is more than a battle over bits of legislation. This is NEA's struggle
for relevancy, and the union will commit itself entirely to it.
2) Food for Thought.
Remember the outrage a few weeks ago when Rep. David Obey
revealed that the Obama administration suggested
cutting food stamps rather than Race to the Top spending? Valerie
Strauss of the
Washington Post called it "peculiar -- not to mention
That's old news. Today the Senate will
vote on Harry Reid's $10 billion edujobs amendment, which will mostly be
offset by... $6.7 billion in cuts to food stamps. Ezra Klein of the
Washington Post tells us, "Budget rhetoric is full of easy choices,
but budgets are about hard choices, and this is a hard, and ugly, choice."
I've checked the NEA web site, and there
are a lot of calls to action, and boasting of the number of calls flooding
the Senate switchboard, but no mention of the fact that the union is
demanding good liberals lobby and vote to cut the food stamp budget. How
does NEA get a free pass on this?
3) Alabama District Spending Tables
Posted. Slow going, but I managed to post the
school district enrollment, staffing, spending and compensation statistics
for each of
Alabama's 131 school districts.
As we progress through the summer, I'll
do the same for each state as I finish it, in alphabetical order (sorry,
4) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from July 27-August 2:
Edujobs Marching Orders from NEA. Grasstops?
Doesn't Look Like Obama Will Back Down. Apparently he didn't need NEA's
confidence in Race to the Top.
It's a Short Walk for March on Washington. The kids march on the candy
Oklahoma: Where the News Is Makin' Lazy Circles in the Sky. Why bloggers
get upset with the press.
Harder to Fire a Teacher Than Get Her Out of Prison. One reason Alabama
needs edujobs money.
Quote of the Week.
"You will literally be fired, whoever you are. You must spend this money. If
your school district or state is not in a budget crisis, then that is
excellent news for you. Most of you are, and we're trying to help you make
sure you maximize those dollars in the best way possible. They simply must
be used. They were passed by Congress during an economic crisis, and it is
your obligation as stewards of taxpayer dollars to spend it wisely,
appropriately and in any way possible to help defray the budget crunch a lot
of you are facing." - Maura Policelli, U.S. Department of Education's senior
advisor for external affairs, describing what will happen to school
officials who don't spend their stimulus money by the end of next year.