A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

From the Vault: July 15, 2002

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 12•16

From the AFT Convention in Las Vegas:

Resolution 65, “For the Soul of Labor.” Submitted by the St. Louis Teachers Union, this remarkable item calls on AFT to support the reduction of all income taxes, sales taxes and taxes on personal property, to be replaced by “incentive charges to deliver social justice and the sustainable management of nature’s resources,” primarily a “land charge.” This would “stimulate a new agrarianism” and “eliminate many forms of nonproductive economic activity” (including Internet journalism and running a union, I guess). “This,” the resolution states, “is the literal vision of the City of God on earth, of peace, prosperity and transparent human consciousness brought about by a simple but radical correction in the way we think about economics.”

Evidently there is some sort of harmonic convergence taking place under the Gateway Arch.

(The resolution was later defeated.)


From the Vault: July 3, 2002

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 11•16

Lily Eskelsen of Utah easily won election to the position of NEA secretary-treasurer. Eskelsen once ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress and lost, but that may have been the luckiest defeat of her life. Now she has the chance to wield some real power.


NEA Representative Assembly 2016: Not a Bundle of Laughs

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 07•16

The 2016 National Education Association Representative Assembly finally adjourned at 9:33 pm. Virtually all of the items I had chosen to track were bundled and referred to various NEA committees for action, or inaction, so there isn’t much new to expect in the coming school year.

One thing that is certain is the union will convene a task force to update and rework its policy statement on charter schools. Whether that policy will be more hostile or less has yet to be determined, but I know which way I’d bet.

NEA raised $189 per delegate for its PAC, exceeding its goal, but falling well short of last year’s total. Including the money contributed during the convention, the union has accumulated $3,355,000 this year to spend on federal candidates.

I’ll have more details and an overview of this year’s RA in the weeks ahead, but for now I’m getting as far away from teachers’ unions as I can manage. Intercepts will run favorite posts from the EIA vault next week and I’ll return to the grind July 18. Thanks for tuning in.


NEA Representative Assembly 2016: Refer Madness

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 07•16

If I had to guess, it looks as though AFT influence is seeping into the NEA RA proceedings this year, as delegates have discovered the magic of referring new business items, resolutions, amendments to policy statements, and all sorts of other agenda fodder to the union’s standing committees. Those items will then be reviewed and acted upon, or not, without a recommendation from the delegates.

AFT uses a committee process to filter business items before they reach the floor, and the delegates routinely bundle leftovers and refer them to the AFT Executive Council en masse so that everyone gets back to the hotel at a reasonable hour.

There will be a lot harrumphing about this being undemocratic and such, but the entire RA is such an unwieldy mess it is hard to blame the delegates for trying to cut the Gordian knot.


NEA Representative Assembly 2016: News Flash

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 07•16

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander was the co-winner of NEA’s Friend of Education Award. He showed up today and gave a speech to the delegates.

The Earth continued to spin on its axis.


NEA Representative Assembly 2016: Charter War Escalation Delayed

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 06•16

This evening the delegates were to debate and vote on five amendments to NEA’s Policy Statement on Charter Schools, first created in 2001. Each of the five was hostile to charter schools as currently constituted, to the point of calling them “an existential threat to public schools.”

Perhaps because the amendments would have amounted to a heating up of a cold war unions and charters have been waging for decades, the delegates and sponsors agreed to have all of them referred to NEA’s charter school task force for review and possible incorporation into the policy statement, which would have to be approved by next year’s assembly.

In other news, the delegates approved NBI 45, which directs NEA to develop a list of job qualifications for U.S. Secretary of Education, to be shared with presidential candidates and U.S. Senators. The list is supposed to include “formal training in education, experience as a public school educator, and no financial, employment, or positions supporting the education privatization industry.”

It seems to me there should be another word in the second part of that sentence somewhere, because it’s not grammatically correct as is. In any event, NEA better develop an inclusive list of all of the members of the education privatization industry, and then check it twice to make sure none of its friends and allies appears on it.


NEA Representative Assembly 2016: Delegates Solve Problem of Failing Schools

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 06•16

The delegates added this amendment to the union’s legislative agenda:

“NEA opposes… using the word ‘failing’ to label our lowest performing public schools.”

Yep. It is so much better to refer to them as our lowest performing public schools.