1) Whatever Happened to Communities
for Quality Education? There have been a host of
National Education Association initiatives launched with a burst of money
and manpower only to disappear without a trace. The
NEA Charter School Initiative and
OWL.org come immediately to mind, but I never expected Communities for
Quality Education to join that list. Maybe CQE isn't really gone, but don't
expect an announcement if it is.
For those of you unfamiliar with its
history, CQE sprang into existence in February 2004 as "America Learns,"
armed with NEA officers, staff,
a 401k plan, and what ended up being $8.9 million in NEA national and
state affiliate dues money that year. Its mission was to spread NEA's
message on the No Child Left Behind Act, but to remain ostensibly
independent and incognito.
The group was active during the 2004
Presidential campaign, airing ads against NCLB in battleground states, and
a basket of red apples to PBS' Gwen Ifill, who was moderating the vice
presidential debate in Ohio. CQE was trying to persuade her to ask an NCLB
question, which she didn't do.
CQE continued to be funded exclusively
by NEA for the next few years, though its activities concerning NCLB dropped
off significantly after the re-election of George W. Bush. In 2007, CQE
provided cash and staff to overturn the Utah school voucher law.
Since then, the group has been involved
Save Pennsylvania's Schools campaign, contributed $250,000 to the
Citizens Unified for Maine's Future, created Schoolhouse Talk,
an Internet radio show, sent out mailers during the
2010 Ohio gubernatorial campaign, and most recently delivered more
direct mail to defeat
Issue 2 in Ohio.
In fact, it seems CQE's mission has
devolved into funding direct mail. Out of the $1 million in the CQE budget
for 2010, more than $435,000 went to the
Mack/Crounse Group for campaign direct mail.
As the scope of CQE's activities have
diminished, so has its profile. Though its NEA roots have always been kept
hidden from the public eye, CQE is fading further. If you try to visit the
CQE web site you get a "403 Forbidden" error. If you go to its
Facebook page, you get a "No information has been
provided... yet" message. The
Schoolhouse Talk site yields
only a directory of files. (Interestingly, the CQE site continues to
Utahns for Public Schools and the
Ohio Education Opportunity Act.)
There is only
one remaining page on the NEA web site that mentions CQE - last updated
Communities for Quality Education may be
vanishing due to NEA budgetary realities or it might just be working
exclusively below the radar from now on. Either way, it ends not with a
bang, but a whimper.
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from January 18-23:
Race to the Top. Wisconsin may be a hyper-partisan battle, but there
isn't a Republican in sight in Hawaii (or New York, as one blog commenter
Card Check Writ Large in Wisconsin. And it's unbelievable that unions
are trying to make Gov. Walker's recall about anything except unions.
Twinkie Defense. Meeting the unions halfway across the soy lecithin
Cutting Edge. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Quote of the Week.
"There are so many moving parts to this initiative that no voter will be
able to understand it in a short period of time." - Paul Toner, president of
the Massachusetts Teachers Association, commenting on a Stand for Children
ballot initiative that would alter the system of teacher evaluations in the
state. The union filed suit against the measure's placement on the November
2012 ballot, claiming it is too broad. You can read both the seven-page
initiative here and the large-print four-page summary by
clicking this link. (January 23