A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Resigner Suppression

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 30•15

A union can require that a member who wishes to resign must do so in person at the union hall, provide a written letter of intent, and show photo ID, thanks to a ruling this week from the National Labor Relations Board.

This is clearly a measure to discourage people from leaving the union. I expect many direct challenges to this policy, but I suggest a flanking maneuver instead.

When the union wants its dues money every two weeks, tell them that a union officer must ask for it in person at your workplace, provide a written invoice, and show photo ID.

If the procedure isn’t a burden for you, it shouldn’t be a burden for them either.



Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 29•15

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” When it comes to the latest NAEP scores, this philosophy has been embraced by AFT president Randi Weingarten and anti-reform guru Diane Ravitch, who both cited a single standardized test as irrefutable evidence that standardized testing is a failure.

To her credit, NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia did not go that route, instead releasing a statement that said, in part: “Scores should be viewed in context, over time and, just because a single test score goes down (or up) it does not represent the complexity of the system or mean good things are not happening.” This is consistent with NEA’s previously stated positions on the issue.

Alas, the strain of being moderate and consistent was too much to bear for more than 24 hours, resulting in a statement about last night’s GOP debate berating the participants for failing to “recognize the road to a strong economy starts in America’s classroom and begins with investing in our greatest natural resource—our students.” She sarcastically noted that the Republican candidates were consistent. “Unfortunately,” she said, “that only means they consistently ignore the needs of children, working families and those everyday Americans who are finding it harder and harder to get by, let alone get ahead.”

By way of contrast, her statement on the Democrat debate was headlined, “Education gets air time in first Democratic presidential debate.” Almost everyone else commented on the lack of air time education got. (See here, here and here.)

Of course, being dependably inconsistent is a consistency of sorts. It is part and parcel of the practice of compartmentalized argument. Facts are presented, but are supposed to be interpreted only in the form in which they are presented. Consistency would require checking old talking points before issuing new ones, and who needs that headache?


Testing Doesn’t Work, Testing Shows

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 28•15

From today’s Washington Post:

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said that slipping NAEP scores are evidence that the nation’s focus on using standardized tests to judge teachers and schools has failed. The scores should trigger a change of course, she said, pointing to the Obama administration’s acknowledgment that students are spending too much time taking standardized tests of dubious value.

“Not only is there plenty of anecdotal evidence that our kids have suffered, these latest NAEP scores again show that the strategy of testing and sanctioning, coupled with austerity, does not work,” Weingarten said in a statement.

Sounds like a generalized judgment based on a single standardized test score.


NEA Members Down, Fee-Payers Up

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 26•15

Click here to read.


The Spigot Opens

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 26•15

From signs inside the Des Moines airport…

…to billboards outside the airport…

…to t-shirts and stickers…

…and placards for photo ops before the Katy Perry concert…

…money from NEA members keeps the gears of capitalism grinding by lubricating the corporate machinery of the political campaign industry.


Hillary’s NEA Support Weakest in Midwest

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 23•15

Overall national results in previous post. Here’s a graph broken down by region.



Poll Confirms: Majority of NEA Members Don’t Support Hillary

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Oct• 23•15

Earlier this week I passed along a quote from Donald Tinney, a member of the NEA Board of Directors from Vermont, made as he sought to delay an endorsement vote for Hillary Clinton. “I say we let this process play out longer, that we listen to our fellow members more closely (a poll showing that more than half of our members don’t support Hillary should be a reason to pause), and that we learn from the debates,” he said.

I now have the results of that poll. It was a telephone survey (both cell and landline) using a random sample of 2,000 NEA members during the week of August 6-12. The reported margin of error was plus or minus 2 percent.

Hillary Clinton was supported by 46 percent of respondents. Bernie Sanders received 22 percent support and Joe Biden 10 percent. The remainder chose others or expressed no preference.

Clinton’s large plurality and substantial lead over Sanders emboldened NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia to place her recommendation in front of the PAC Council, but there was no rank-and-file groundswell demanding such an early endorsement.

Within the union universe, however, executive action can affect opinions. It would be interesting to know if NEA’s endorsement (and the non-candidacy of Biden) prompts members to bow to the inevitable and change their support to Clinton. They are paying for it regardless.