A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Iannuzzi Lightly Toasted

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 07•14

You have heard by now that Karen Magee and the entire Revive NYSUT slate were swept into office at the union’s representative assembly. I spent much of the weekend working on the story and will have it for you in this evening’s communiquĂ©.


NYSUT Wants Education Commissioner Fired

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 05•14

From the New York State United Teachers media relations office:

Delegates to New York State United Teachers’ 42nd Representative Assembly today voted “no confidence” in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King Jr. and called for his immediate removal by the Board of Regents.

It must be awfully frustrating to want someone summarily fired for poor performance and be unable to do so.


Is Common Core on the Ropes from Lefts and Rights?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 04•14

Sweeping and controversial federal education legislation has often blurred party lines. Few remember today that the much-reviled No Child Left Behind Act passed 384-45 in the House and 91-8 in the Senate, in both cases with more Democrat votes than Republican ones.

The Common Core State Standards have bipartisan support, and the opposition is more than bipartisan; it’s absolutely bi-ideological. It is impossible to refer to CCSS opponents as strange bedfellows, since they can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. But they are burning down the same house from opposite corners, and this morning’s news illustrates that.

MSNBC provides a good summary of the “flurry of legislation” targeting several aspects of CCSS and notes both Tea Party conservatives and teachers’ unions are behind these efforts.

We also have op-eds attacking the standards as both a federal power grab and a corporate power grab. Mark Naison, co-founder of the Badass Teachers Association and former SDS member, acknowledges the shared goal.

“Common Core is like the nightmare of both the right and the left,” he said, “government and corporate control together, each time undermining the ordinary citizen’s input into education policy.”

I’m not sure ordinary citizens ever had much input into education policy, but it will be interesting to see whether CCSS supporters can maneuver so that the arguments from polar opposites cancel each other out, or if defending two fronts leaves them too weak on either.


Why Iannuzzi Is Toast

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 03•14

More than two months ago I posted my thoughts on the New York State United Teachers election headlined “Iannuzzi Is Toast.” My conclusion had nothing to do with the policies of the incumbent NYSUT president or his slate, nor did it take into account the policies of his challengers, Revive NYSUT. I simply took a look at the number of delegates and the locals pledged to the challengers, particularly the largest teachers’ union local in the nation, the United Federation of Teachers.

In recent weeks Iannuzzi’s slate, named Stronger Together, has trumpeted its growing list of endorsements by NYSUT local presidents and boards. We started to see graphs like this one.

That’s an impressive show of strength and it would be decisive if the NYSUT Representative Assembly assigned a single vote to each local. But the votes are weighted according to the size of the local, and that’s where Stronger Together gets a lot Smaller Together.

I don’t have a list of delegates and I have no special insight into how individuals might vote on the open floor (no secret ballot in NYSUT). But the two slates are using local endorsements as a proxy for voting power and I will, too. I know how many teachers are in each district they represent and can usually add pretty well.

I took a look at the list of 300 or so local presidents on the Stronger Together web site and discovered: a) there was some double-counting of locals; and b) the total number of teachers those locals represented came to about 60,000.

UFT by itself has 64,000 active full-time K-12 teachers.

So if UFT stood alone, Stronger Together would have a fighting chance to pick up votes from the rest of the delegation. But the Revive slate also boasts the endorsement of virtually all of the largest locals in NYSUT: the Professional Staff Congress, the United University Professions, and the K-12 unions in Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse. Stronger’s largest declared local is the Brentwood Teachers Association, representing about 1,100 teachers.

My unscientific extrapolation estimates Revive NYSUT holds about 56 percent of the delegates, Stronger Together 24 percent, and 20 percent are unknown or undecided. Iannuzzi’s slate would have to capture all of the undecideds and peel off about 11 percent of Revive’s delegates while holding on to all of its own.

My prediction: Revive NYSUT picks up at least 60 percent of the vote. If it climbs to 70 percent, I would not be surprised.


NYSUT Election Will Be Held Saturday Evening

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 02•14

The incumbent has the support of more than 300 locals, and the challenger has the support of all the largest ones. Barring something utterly extraordinary, Karen Magee will become the new president of New York State United Teachers, but by a less-than-impressive margin.

Almost all of the union’s business will be conducted prior to the election on Saturday evening, and it will be interesting to see how much the battle between the two caucuses affects other areas.

Former NYSUT president Tom Hobart will be receiving an award. He has endorsed incumbent president Richard Iannuzzi. AFT president Randi Weingarten will address the delegates. Her local, the United Federation of Teachers, is the driving force behind the challenger. John Stocks, the executive director of NEA, will also speak. The national union has little influence on NYSUT, and its staunch support of Common Core has hit swirling rapids in New York.

It will be even more interesting to see how the election results affect the delegates and the union. Will they all close ranks behind the next regime? Or will the divisions opened up during the campaign linger on?


Union Campaign Contributions May Help Fund Yee’s Defense

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Apr• 01•14

I don’t know if the FBI got back the envelope of cash it used to bribe California state senator Leland Yee, but hundreds of people and organizations won’t get back the money they donated to Yee’s campaign for Secretary of State. The law allows such contributions to be used for a legal defense fund. This is bad news for a whole lot of California unions, such as:

California Federation of Teachers

California School Employees Association

California Faculty Association

United Domestic Workers of America

California Nurses Association

AFSCME Local 3299

International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 16

Teamsters Local 665

Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 467

District Council of Iron Workers

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6

Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties Building Construction Trades Council

San Francisco Fire Fighters

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Operating Engineers Local 3

Amalgamated Transit Union

But unions aren’t the only ones who will see their money paying for Yee’s lawyers. He also received contributions from Facebook and the Hustler Casino.


California Teachers Association State Council At Work

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 31•14

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