Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Has NEA Abandoned the Nevada Tax Initiative?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 15•14

The latest filing for Question 3, the margin tax initiative on the Nevada ballot, appears to show the Nevada State Education Association standing entirely alone and, it seems, almost out of cash.

The Education Initiative PAC, which supports Question 3, raised $653,204 and spent $1,098,181 in the latest period. Since Jan. 1, the political action committee raised $888,204 and spent $1,523,712. Counting 2013, the committee raised $1,888,204 and spent $1,775,278.

All of the money in the latest quarter came from NSEA, except for a whopping $3,204 from NEA national.

Meanwhile the opposition is rolling in contributions from a multitude of sources. It’s never safe to assume that teachers’ unions have no money available to spend on campaigns, but unless NEA is gearing up for an October surprise, it may have folded its hand in Nevada.

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NEA’s Super PAC Goes on “Grassroots” Shopping Spree

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 14•14

Click here to read.

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Flash! NEA Not Planning to Change Much

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 14•14

Last year the National Education Association appointed a governance review committee to examine the union’s structure and policy-making apparatus. Some bold ideas came under consideration, including a Representative Assembly (RA) only once every two years, a smaller Board of Directors, a reduced Resolutions Committee, and a host of other changes designed to widen participation and reduce costs.

The committee concluded its work this month and it isn’t much of a surprise that none of those things will happen. The one proposal it will present to the next RA is whether to change the deadline for the submission of new business items.

It’s a disappointing end to a process that began with high-minded aspirations, as demonstrated by this NEA PowerPoint presentation I have posted to EIA’s Declassified page. Evidently the union believes it already has a structure that is “strong, effective and able to adapt to rapidly changing environment so that we make informed decisions in a time of uncertainty and attack.”

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A Debate to Liven Up Your Columbus Day

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 13•14

No, not the usual heroic explorer vs. genocidal imperialist argument. Here is a theory from a little-known museum director in the Bahamas, suggesting Columbus was actually from the Greek island of Chios – a Genoese colony – and descended from the family of the last Byzantine emperor.

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Mythical Creatures

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 10•14

The Hydra, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and temporary tax increases in California.

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Old Habits Die Hard

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 09•14

Gordon Haas, the former president of the Greenport Teachers Association in New York, was arrested and charged with grand larceny last Saturday afternoon after stealing $570 in cash from a wallet that someone had left in a restaurant men’s room.

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TANSTAAFL

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 08•14

The New York Times Magazine headlined a story by Nicholas Confessore “How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground,” but it should have been called “How Big Business and Big Government Conspire to Screw Up Something As Simple As Feeding Kids.”

It’s a long piece, but definitely worth your time. If you can’t spare it, here are a few short clips from the article that I think illustrate the insanity of it all:

* “’Right now we’re in that phase where you’re fighting a rear-guard action to hold on to as much territory as you can.’”

* “The starchy-vegetable lobby was quick to take offense.”

* “The new rule counted two tablespoons of tomato paste as two tablespoons of tomato paste…”

* “Representative Collin Peterson, a centrist Democrat from Minnesota whose district is home to Schwan’s headquarters, demanded that a U.S.D.A. official explain the scientific basis for the tomato rule.”

* “In Wisconsin and New Jersey, students staged lunchroom strikes.”

* “You have to tell a six-foot football player, ‘You didn’t take your fruit or your vegetable,’ ” she said incredulously. He might just walk away. “And guess what? They can’t get reimbursed for that meal, because he didn’t take the full components.”

* “Cafeteria directors complained that they were being forced to raise prices on their best customers while offering them less of the food they liked most.”

The prices go up and the choices go down. That doesn’t sound like a problem unique to school lunches.

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