1) NEA Expects to Spend $25 Million
on State Political Campaigns. Each year, each
member of the National Education Association contributes $20 to two
segregated funds. Eight dollars goes to the
Media Fund, which uses it for issue advertising and promotion both
nationally and in the form of grants to state affiliates. Twelve dollars is
deposited into the Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises Fund, which
contributes to statewide ballot initiative campaigns in states that have
them, and legislative advocacy in states that don't. The BMLC fund is the
primary source of NEA's political campaign spending at the state level.
The union created the fund in 2000, and
is required to annually report its status to NEA convention delegates.
In the good old days, that meant not only reporting the fund balance,
but the amount and destination of each grant to a state affiliate. At some
point in 2009, the powers-that-be at NEA came to the conclusion that this
was more information than they wanted to be known, so they reduced the
report to the total amount disbursed and the total number of affiliates to
receive the cash, without identifying them.
This year the union was even cagier than
usual. The fund report was dated May 24, and listed the fund balance at
$19,504,926. What the delegates probably didn't know - and the members they
represent certainly don't know - is that the night before the convention
opened the NEA board of directors met and voted to allocate $13 million of
that balance, and another $4 million from the 2012-13 money, to a handful of
state affiliate campaigns. The union expects to have spent $25 million out
of an available $29 million by this time next year.
A total of $9 million went to five state
affiliates - California Teachers Association, Florida Education Association,
Idaho Education Association, Michigan Education Association and Ohio
Education Association. I don't have the individual breakdowns, except that
CTA received $5 million. CTA deposited that money, and an additional $7.5
million from its own ballot initiative fund, into its issues PAC. We can
expect the vast bulk of this money to be spent on supporting Proposition 30
- the governor's tax increase - and defeating Proposition 32, which would
prohibit the use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.
A total of $8 million was allocated to
"behind the wall" campaigns in the states. Internal NEA documents describe
them this way:
The Independent Campaigns Unit consults with state affiliates
on setting up "behind-the-wall" programs involving communication to the
public around candidates or issues and connecting to other organizations and
individuals to help proactively position affiliates as part of a state's
progressive infrastructure to elect pro-public education candidates and pass
pro-public education/pro-labor policies.
If NEA's projected membership losses for
2012-13 come to pass, the union will have about $1.5 million less in the
BMLC fund than it would otherwise. But the sums of money involved are so
enormous it's hard to imagine the loss will have a decisive detrimental
effect in any campaign.
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from July 17-23:
Poor Investment in Indiana Real Estate. Why not buy every affiliate's
TFA Foes in California: Don't Bother Us With Our Own Evidence. Reliable
NEA to Send 11 State Affiliates Funds for Media Ads. Six are shut out.
Transformation Begins at Home. You go first.
The Worst Part of Being in a Merged Teacher Union. Encore!
3) Quote of the Week #1.
"Some have an ideological opposition to testing as the enemy
of educational creativity. They love the intangible joys of the profession,
without the inconvenience of demonstrating that their work has any effect."-
Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist. (July 19
Quote of the Week #2.
"Seniority is a nonnegotiable item, and it's a red herring. It's not about
first in, last out. We need to recognize people who have committed to this
district." - Trish Gorham, president, Oakland Education Association. (July