The National Education Association will be holding a Leadership Summit in Dallas, Texas, this weekend, and one of the workshop sessions caught my eye.
226: Powerful, Prepared, Proactive: Building a Comprehensive Plan to Win – PART 1
In the 2015 election, the Jefferson County Education Association in Colorado beat back the Koch brothers and other outside money and interests in their local school board election by building and working a comprehensive plan to win. In this session, participants will learn the strategies and processes involved in the successful two year plan. Participants will learn how organized people can beat organized money. (It is recommended that participants attend both Part 1 and Part 2).
John Ford is, and was, the president of the Jefferson County Education Association when it successfully engineered the recall of three conservative school board members. That’s all well and good, except for the two years prior to the recall, JCEA repeatedly denied being the driving force behind the effort, despite stacks of evidence to the contrary.
There were teacher sick-outs, student walk-outs, union activist training by out-of-state NEA UniServ directors, and the help of a Colorado Education Association organizing specialist, funded by an NEA grant. Oh, and there was money. Lots and lots of money.
Jeffco United, the parent group for the political committees campaigning for the recall, raised almost $287,000 for the effort. It was not discovered until well after the election that Jefferson County residents donated only $3,115. The rest came from NEA, CEA and JCEA.
I am sure the workshop will be edifying, though I am more interested to hear about the union’s two-year plan for the 2017 school board elections. I don’t want to have to wait until 2019.