A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

NEA Expects 1% Boost in Membership, Will Spend 2% More

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jun• 06•16

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Exclusive: CTA Pledges $25 Million to Tax Initiative

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jun• 06•16

This is all dues money from California Teachers Association members, so add to it contributions from the California Federation of Teachers, other labor organizations in the state, and the National Education Association, should CTA require additional millions from its parent affiliate.

The union-sponsored initiative would extend the income tax provisions of Proposition 30 until the year 2030. Prop 30 created four new tax brackets and raised the state sales tax, but this new initiative would allow the sales tax increase to expire.


It Can Always Be Worse

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jun• 03•16

Disagreeing with the teachers’ union can lead to all sorts of negative consequences, but nothing to the extent these Mexican teachers endured for following the law rather than the union’s wishes.


Is Your School Board Signing Contracts Without Reading Them?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jun• 02•16

In April the Palatine Township Elementary District school board in Illinois approved an unprecedented 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the local teachers’ union. The union also approved the contract. But there were two more details about the negotiations that were also unusual, as reported by the Daily Herald:

“District Superintendent Scott Thompson said specific dollar amounts in the contract are still being worked out, but a news release from the district says annual increases for most teachers will average about 2.5 percent for the first four years and about 4 percent for the last six years.” (emphasis added)

“The District 15 negotiating team included Thompson, Chief School Business Official Mike Adamczyk, and Lisa Nuss, former president of the teachers union and now head of the district’s human resources department.”

People often claim that because of their campaign support for school board candidates, teachers’ unions can negotiate from both sides of the table. In this case it was literally true. But how did the board and the union approve a contract without knowing the “specific dollar amounts”?

Simple. A little more digging by the Daily Herald revealed the school board never read the proposed deal while unanimously approving it. Board members were briefed in closed session by the negotiation team and given a three-page summary of the contract. They then discussed the agreement for “about four minutes” in open session before ratifying it.

This discovery calls the legal validity of the contract into question, since it is unclear whether the two sides ratified an actual collective bargaining agreement and, if they did, if they both ratified the same document.

The Daily Herald found four other local school districts whose boards had ratified contracts without having the final document. One district still doesn’t have a final document even though it was ratified last December.

For a document that dictates the daily operations of a public school system to be treated so cavalierly defies belief. But it wouldn’t surprise me if this was common across the nation.


Virginia Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jun• 01•16

The Virginia Education Association has lost more than 18 percent of its membership since 2007-08, but was able to reduce staff costs by $1.2 million, resulting in a surplus. VEA does, however, hold $7.3 million in pension liabilities.

Total membership – 50,501, down 2,243 members

Total revenue – $12.8 million (84.1% came from member dues), down $320,000

Surplus – $1.4 million

Net assets – $2.3 million

Total staff – 118

Staff salaries and benefits – $7.8 million

Highest paid employee – Philip Forgit, executive director  – $117,600 base salary

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


What Has NEA Done Since Last Year? It Got Engaged!

Written By: Mike Antonucci - May• 31•16

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NYC Union Election Provides Something New and More of the Same

Written By: Mike Antonucci - May• 31•16

If you want deep analysis of the voting results in the United Federation of Teachers election in New York City, I highly recommend heading over to Norm Scott’s Ed Notes Online. The upshot is that Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus slate captured 76 percent of the vote, with the opposition MORE/New Action slate taking the bulk of the remainder and winning some seats on the UFT executive board.

Mulgrew’s winning percentage keeps dropping in every election, but at this rate he won’t get ousted until 2028. And you can’t analyze union elections properly without mentioning turnout. It’s historically bad, and it wasn’t good this time, either.

Organized opposition within unions is a healthy phenomenon, regardless of what they espouse. But low turnouts are an implicit endorsement of the services model. As long as teachers are getting collective bargaining services, they don’t seem to care much who runs the union. Movement unionists can win elections without motivating the apathetic, but they will never achieve their socio-political goals without energizing those non-voters.