A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Alabama Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Dec• 03•14

The late Paul Hubbert was very concerned about the financial status of the Alabama Education Association, and the records show he had reason to be. Here are the particulars:

Total membership – 93,402, down 3,209

Total revenue – $18.5 million (74% came from member dues), down $1.2 million

Budget deficit – $3.4 million

Net assets – $13.9 million

Total staff – 152

Staff salaries and benefits – $9.5 million

Highest paid employee – Henry Mabry, $340,000 base salary

Highest paid contractor – Matrix LLC, $954,000


Hyperbole History

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Dec• 02•14

Diana Moore, the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association in Florida, was forced to issue an apology after she compared working conditions in the district’s schools to “the ‘cotton fields’ of the past.”

As overwrought comparisons go, this one was relatively minor. Over the years, I’ve recorded many more ridiculous analogies.

* Noted education author David Berliner once told the New Mexico legislature that “voucher programs could end up resembling the ethnic cleansing now occurring in Kosovo.”

* California Teachers Association president Wayne Johnson once reacted to a school dress code for teachers this way: “What have we got, an educational Taliban here? Are they gonna require burqas soon?”

* Wisconsin Education Association Council president Stan Johnson announced a lobbying effort with the words “We will no longer be the captive and oppressed people we’ve been the last 11 years.”

* I awarded the Education Quote of the Decade to former Nebraska State Education Association executive director Jim Griess for this gem, about a ballot measure to limit government spending increases to inflation and population growth:

“The struggle in which we are engaged is as vital to our future today as was the outcome of the Civil War to our nation in 1860 (sic). The goal of these locusts is to impose their will on state after state until they have completely demolished government as we know it. There is a time for every generation to rise to the call – when the very existence of our nation, our state, our values, our culture and our public schools are threatened with extinction.”

* A reporter asked Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English what she would do about the district’s latest contract proposal. She replied, “What happened on the plantation when the slaves had enough?”

* Metro Nashville Education Association President Jamye Merritt explained her opposition to performance pay with “People take money every day for things I would not do… there are people that are paid to be assassins. Sometimes it’s just not worth the sacrifice you would have to make for the money.”

* Bruce Cole of the Colorado Springs Education Association thought this would help people understand why the union didn’t want teacher contract negotiations conducted in public: “Even Jesus needed an executive session with his disciples.”


Financial Status of All NEA State Affiliates

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Dec• 01•14

Click here to read.


In Case You Missed It

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Dec• 01•14

I hope you are all recovering nicely from the long holiday weekend. Ease back into the work week by reading Doug Tuthill’s “Why I went from teachers union president to school choice leader.”

Key quote: “I believe a primary function of collective teacher power is the empowerment of individual teachers.”


Shop With a Clear Conscience

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Nov• 28•14

A study for the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes “Large, Modern Retailers Pay Comparatively High Wages.”


Happy Thanksgiving (?)

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Nov• 27•14


Another Lesson on Union Officer Pay

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Nov• 26•14

An article by Jason Hart appeared on the Fox News web site today headlined “Teachers union boss loses 40,000 members, gets a raise.” It begins:

National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel received a huge pay raise this year while the teachers union lost more than 40,000 members.

Van Roekel, who retired this summer, was paid $541,632 during NEA’s fiscal year ending Aug. 31 — a $130,000 increase from last year, driven by a gross salary hike from $306,286 to $429,509.

Those numbers are derived from the union’s annual report to the Labor Department and are accurate as far as they go, but the story is misleading, since it implies Van Roekel received a salary increase of $123,000 last year.

Van Roekel actually received a salary hike of $34,689. All three NEA executive officers also received a boost to their living/benefits allowance of a combined $28,000, which is taxable income. So Van Roekel’s total pay increase was approximately $45,000.

How did he get up to $500,000? As is traditional with highly paid union officers, Van Roekel deferred a portion of his salary for tax purposes during his six-year tenure. Now that he has retired, that deferred income has been added to his final year’s salary. It’s even possible that Van Roekel’s name will appear on the payroll next year, as any additional deferred income is paid out.

Finally, the pay levels of the executive officers are set every two years into the NEA budget, and are in no way based on performance (of membership numbers or otherwise), which is what one would expect.