Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

NEA New Hampshire’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 28•16

The recession years hit NEA New Hampshire particularly hard. The union lost more than 1,000 members since 2010 after 15 years of uninterrupted growth. Staff compensation eats up more revenue than state dues produces.

Total membership – 16,504, down 151 members

Total revenue – $6.5 million (83.8% came from member dues), up $55,000

Surplus – $470,000

Net assets – $3.7 million

Total staff – 39

Staff salaries and benefits – $5.6 million

Highest paid employee – Rick Trombly, executive director – $144,451 base salary

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

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Nevada State Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 25•16

The Nevada State Education Association cut expenses dramatically, but it is merely marking time while its ESP affiliate – the Education Support Employees Association – hangs on like grim death to its exclusive representation privileges despite getting trounced in multiple elections by the Teamsters. ESEA constitutes about 20 percent of the state union’s total membership.

Total membership – 24,062, down 480 members

Total revenue – $8.4 million (82.6% came from member dues), up $285,000

Surplus – $1.1 million

Net assets – $3.7 million

Total staff – 24

Staff salaries and benefits – $3.5 million

Highest paid employee – Gary Peck, former executive director – $151,366 base salary

Highest paid contractor – Dyer, Lawrence, Penrose, Flaherty & Donaldson – $833,722

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Nebraska State Education Association’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 24•16

The Nebraska State Education Association has increased membership 15 of the last 16 years. Its budget deficit was caused by an almost 10 percent increase in spending on employee compensation.

Total membership – 27,990, up 52 members

Total revenue – $9.2 million (84.1% came from member dues), down $487,000

Deficit – $246,000

Net assets – $5.2 million

Total staff – 49

Staff salaries and benefits – $6.4 million

Highest paid employee – Craig R. Christiansen, executive director – $134,486 base salary

Highest paid contractor – Norby & Wade, $760,131

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#DoYourJob

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 23•16

The National Education Association, along with a host of other groups, wants the U.S. Senate to hold hearings and a vote on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. It may surprise you to know that I agree with them. It’s not like these guys are working on simplifying the tax code and can’t be disturbed. You would think they would be clamoring for the free TV time.

The campaign for hearings seems to be based on the notion that Senate Republicans will not confirm Judge Garland, despite his qualifications, and the American voters will punish the GOP at the polls in November for rejecting a nominee purely on ideological grounds. That’s where the strategy goes awry. I recently came across this defense of the Senate’s prerogative to do just that, and public support for the position:

Unlike executive branch appointees, judges do not serve at the pleasure of the President; they are appointed for life. Under the Constitution, the Senate shares equally with the President the power to determine who is to serve in the federal judiciary. Pursuant to its right of “advice and consent,” the Senate can reject any judicial nominee by a simple majority vote.

Historically, the Senate has done more than merely inquire whether the nominee is a fool or a crook; it has rejected a number of nominees because of their rigid ideology. Indeed, in the history of the Supreme Court, almost 20 percent of the nominees have been rejected by the Senate or have withdrawn from consideration under fire, most for ideological reasons. And the public supports the Senate’s exercise of that prerogative. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll concluded that 62 percent of the American public believes that senators should pay “a lot” of attention to a Supreme Court nominee’s “positions on major constitutional issues” in considering whether to confirm.

Especially where, as here, the President nominates a Justice for blatantly ideological reasons, the Senate is constitutionally bound to closely examine that ideology.

Those paragraphs are from a document prepared by NEA’s general counsel dated August 1987 and titled, “Background Information on the Nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.” It bears mentioning that the 1987 NEA Representative Assembly “voted overwhelmingly to oppose the nomination” of Judge Bork three days after it was made, and this document was prepared after that vote.

Republicans could do worse than Garland, but I’m inclined to agree with Eric Posner – it’s not how liberal a Supreme Court justice is, but whether he votes along with the other liberal Supreme Court justices. This Garland will almost certainly do. GOP senators are under no obligation to make that happen.

Still, Garland is a nominee. He should get a hearing and a vote. If you don’t want him to serve, vote him down. The idea that there will be some great uprising among the electorate because of it is silly.

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Teach For America Lays Off Staff, Usual Suspects Rejoice

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 22•16

Last month, Teach For America held a 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington DC and showed a congratulatory video from someone you may have heard of.

This month, however, TFA is laying off 150 staffers due to its failure to meet its own recruiting targets. We know this because a TFA staffer leaked the information to Diane Ravitch. The schadenfreude runs thick in the typical channels, even though last week they were flogging the lack of teacher recruits themselves.

No matter. This isn’t about teacher recruitment or teacher quality or federal funding. Merits and flaws aside, TFA circumvents the established way of recruiting, training and deploying teachers. It also threatens the notion that K-12 public school teaching is a 30-year career. To some, that means it must be stopped.

Efforts to find common ground – even those attempted by the president of the National Education Association – were met with howls of outrage. NEA itself concluded in 2012, “No evidence suggests that the TFA contracts are being used to reduce teacher costs, silence union voices, or as a vehicle to bust unions.”

This had no effect on opponents, who continued their campaigns against TFA, either independently or with union affiliate sanction. Just this January the executive officers of the California Teachers Association approved a measure to actively support a campaign by its student teacher chapter to “Resist Teach for America.” The rationale was that “Teach for America is in direct competition with CTA for student membership. They impede our ability to recruit and organize student chapters on college campuses. They promote an anti-union message.”

The union created a “Resist Teach for America” toolkit, which I have posted on the EIA web site, with a link on EIA’s Declassified page.

The toolkit notes TFA’s growth through 2014 and a “significant decrease in union membership and participation.” It concludes: “These trends are not unrelated.”

The toolkit contains tips and exercises for activists to use when confronted by TFA supporters, emphasizing that “we are critiquing the organization of Teach for America and its associated reform movement, not TFA recruits or alumni as individuals. We encourage TFA resistors to withhold value judgments (i.e. bad, good) and use language that is aimed at critiquing the system (i.e. ineffective, inequitable).”

TFA as an organization will stand or fall based on the value of the services it provides. If only that could be said of all public education organizations.

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After Friedrichs, Will Unions Hit the Snooze Button?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 21•16

Click here to read.

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(Montana) MEA-MFT’s Finances

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Mar• 21•16

MEA-MFT experienced only two years with minor membership losses since the NEA and AFT affiliates in Montana merged in 2000.

Total membership – 17,996, up 174 members

Total revenue – $6.6 million (79.2% came from member dues), up $396,000

Surplus – $178,000

Net assets – $2.5 million

Total staff – 43

Staff salaries and benefits – $4.4 million

Highest paid employee – Eric Feaver, president – $118,097 base salary

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

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