A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Job Opening: Captain of a Sinking Ship

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 05•16

Looks like NEA is preparing to return the Alabama Education Association to its own devices. Here’s a job posting for the position of executive director.

I’m guessing the most important qualification is: “Has a record of long term financial planning, managing finances and resources, and providing accurate information and guidance to governing boards. Has a record of fiscal soundness, sustainability, and resource stewardship.”

I also assume the next executive director won’t make the $344,000 annual salary of the previous occupant of the position, but it’s a well-paying gig if you don’t mind presiding over slow death.


Chicago Teachers Union’s Bold Stance for Choice

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 04•16

From yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times:

In a largely symbolic move, the Chicago Teachers Union closed its Bank of America account Wednesday and urged others not to keep funds with an institution the union argues has contributed to Chicago Public Schools’ dire financial state.

“We are demanding that Bank of America act as a good corporate citizen and deal fairly with our schools and city, and most importantly, we encourage supporters of public education to take the same action at this bank and other banks profiting from the toxic interest rate swaps,” said Michael Brunson, CTU’s recording secretary, as he stood outside the Bank of America branch at 135 S. LaSalle in the Loop.

Brunson and other officials walked into the bank, closed the account and said they planned to transfer funds — about $725,000 — to another bank.

The union withdrew all of its money from B of A because it disagreed with the bank’s practices and operations. Imagine if all Americans – public school teachers, for example – had the same freedom to refuse to financially support private institutions and organizations with which they differ.

Fortunately for CTU, the bank didn’t require the union to withdraw its money only within a two-week window during the summer. Nor did it inform CTU that it would still need to keep on deposit the portion of the $725,000 that was not used in toxic interest rate swaps. B of A didn’t tell CTU that its action was undermining the finances of other bank customers, and that it should keep the money on deposit in solidarity with them. The bank didn’t complain about loss of influence or impending layoffs. It didn’t spend millions on litigation in an effort to keep the $725,000. Nor did it call CTU a tool of outside interests looking to destroy B of A for political gain.

It just gave CTU its money back.


Delaware State Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 03•16

The Delaware State Education Association lost members for only the second time in the last 20 years, but the two instances were losses of only 9 and 20 members. DSEA’s finances are solid and its delegates are among the largest contributors to NEA’s PAC.

Total membership – 12,689, down 20 members

Total revenue – $5 million (87% came from member dues), up $72,000

Surplus – $622,000

Net assets – $5.2 million

Total staff – 32

Staff salaries and benefits – $3 million

Highest paid employee – Jeff Taschner, executive director – $151,616 base salary

Highest paid contractor – None received more than $100,000


Congratulations, Sticker Boy, You’re the Poster Child for NEA

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 02•16

I must devote a little space to Peter Clinkscales, the Drake University freshman who used his NEA stickers to achieve Internet and TV fame.


NEA, AFT Spin in Opposite Directions

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 02•16

The presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, eh, emphasized different aspects of last night’s Iowa results.

First, NEA’s Lily Eskelsen García:

“Last night, the people of Iowa sent a message to the rest of the country: Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president of the United States.”

Then, AFT’s Randi Weingarten:

“I know the early four states love being the early four states, and every four years you hear more and more about them. But 60 percent of the delegates actually get decided in March.”

I’m also a bit mystified by the touting of this bit of exit poll news.

It’s an odd thing to brag about. The unions have not only dropped millions in support of the Clinton campaign, but assured everyone that their endorsements of Hillary reflected the democratic will of their membership.

They acknowledged there was some rank-and-file support for Sanders, but those union members had no SuperPAC money to draw on, no staff to airlift into Iowa, no pre-existing organizational structure, and no communications professionals disseminating their message to the press and the public.

And the unions beat them by 9 points.

Vermont NEA retweeted this sentiment:

National NEA and AFT wasted no time in hopping a plane to Nashua, so I’m reminded of my concerns about a civil war in Lebanon.


Teacher Unionists Will Be Victorious Tonight, But Which Ones?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 01•16

Click here to read.


Connecticut Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 01•16

The Connecticut Education Association lost members in 2010-11, the only year in the last 20 in which that happened. CEA rebounded to surpass its pre-recession levels and is financially secure.

Total membership – 43,627, up 344 members

Total revenue – $20.3 million (89.1% came from member dues), up $621,000

Surplus – $1.2 million

Net assets – $18.9 million

Total staff – 96

Staff salaries and benefits – $14.5 million

Highest paid employee – Mark Waxenberg, executive director – $204,320 base salary

Highest paid contractor – None received more than $100,000