A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

The Password Is: “Escalating”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 26•14

Yesterday we reported on the Colorado Education Association looking for someone to coordinate “escalating activity” in “high intensity campaigns” in targeted school districts.

LA School Report also notes the words of United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl in his “State of the Union” speech to members. “Keep your eye out for the first of a series of monthly escalating actions starting in October at school sites,” he said.

Both of these actions seem to imply that union officers believe escalation is a unilateral strategy. Perhaps they’re right. This story about the cowed opposition to a Washington Education Association class size initiative suggests a lack of intestinal fortitude when it comes to facing down the teachers’ union.

Each locale will handle these actions as circumstances and personalities dictate, but as a general rule I would advise riding that escalator to see who jumps off before reaching the top.


Colorado Protests Not Exactly Spontaneous

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 25•14

Last November, voters in Jefferson County, Colorado, elected a conservative majority for their school board. This didn’t sit well with those who lost, most prominently the Jefferson County Education Association. And though the two sides hammered out a collective bargaining agreement in May that was approved by 88 percent of the membership, the union fought with the board on a number of issues.

Perhaps it’s all a coincidence, but at the end of July, 48 NEA UniServ directors from 18 states were sent to Jefferson County to train local officers and activists in conducting home visits with members. Once the school year began, there was a flurry of union activity.

JCEA issued a vote of no confidence in school board president Ken Witt. Last week, two high schools had to cancel classes because of a teacher sick-out. JCEA denied responsibility for organizing it, but said it understood teachers’ “frustration.” The local heightened its presence and contributions in campaigns for the state legislature, and is encouraging student protests over the AP History curriculum.

The union’s plan is not only to continue its recent activities in Jefferson County, but to spread them to other districts in the state. The Colorado Education Association received a one-year NEA funding grant to hire an organizing specialist “to help bring educators together to fight back against the movement to privatize public education.” The job requires coordinating organizing campaigns in five unnamed Colorado local affiliates in three “metro area school districts.”

The organizing plan will incorporate “escalating activity” in “high intensity campaigns” to include “rallies, marches and other direct actions.”


Let’s Play “Who Is Arne Duncan Talking About?”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 24•14

These folks are so interested in making money, they’ve lost a sense of values, they’ve lost a sense of what’s important…. I feel bad for young kids looking up to these situations. Until people start thinking beyond dollar signs, we’re going to see this kind of behavior continue to happen.

Fill in the blank with your favorite villain, but Arne was referring to the National Football League and its handling of the Ray Rice case.


Union Opposes Pre-K Funding Amendment in Hawaii

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 23•14

This November, voters in Hawaii will decide on a constitutional amendment to expand the supply of pre-kindergarten programs by allowing the legislature to contract with private nonprofit pre-K programs. Here’s an ad from the Children’s Action Network supporting the amendment.

But the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which normally loves the idea of expanded pre-school, opposes the amendment due to one word – “private.” Here is the union ad:

I’m not suggest HSTA ought to support the amendment. I am suggesting that teachers ‘unions’ labor policies will trump their education policies every time.


Balance Your Budget the NYSUT Way!

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 22•14

Click here to read.


Thanks, But No Tanks

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 22•14

The Washington Post reports that some of the 120 education agencies that received excess military equipment will return or dispose of it. None of them admitted to finding a use for the grenade launchers, but the M-16s and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) still seem popular.

You might wonder why school districts and universities need this sort of weaponry and armor. If you read the progressive press, you would know. There’s a war going on.


Help Me Make Some Dough

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 19•14

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is struggling to determine whether she can better serve the city’s working class by making $201,000 as a union officer or $216,000 as mayor of Chicago. I have to applaud her ingenious method for coming to a decision: Send her money.

I don’t think donations will sway her one way or the other, since she has already concluded she can do both jobs. The combined salaries would raise her almost, but not quite, into Randi Weingarten territory.

I could write more about this, but I’m conflicted. Maybe a few bucks would help me choose.