Tag Archives: priorities

iVoices: Ben DeGrow, Amy Oliver Talk about Teachers Union Priorities

Last week I helped bring your attention to the National Education Association’s open declaration about their priorities as a labor union first, and kids second — as well as the latest published criticism of NEA, this time coming from a traditional political ally on the Left. These are interesting times we live in, and my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow joined Amy Oliver on a new iVoices podcast to talk about these issues more in depth. I invite you to listen (click on the play button below): For those of you who have forgotten, here’s what retiring NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin told a crowd of 8,000 cheering union delegates:

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National Education Association Leader Candid about Union Priorities

For those who heard my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow discuss the National Education Association this morning on News Talk 1310 KFKA‘s Amy Oliver Show, here is the video clip you heard of the NEA’s retiring general counsel Bob Chanin explaining his organization’s priorities: The clip came from the end of Chanin’s keynote speech to the NEA’s annual Representative Assembly in San Diego on July 6. According to Education Week reporter Steven Sawchuk, Chanin received a 5-minute standing ovation at the end. Do leaders of the Colorado Education Association share Chanin’s priorities? Is there an intrepid reporter in our state who would dare ask? Inquiring minds want to know … Also, for those who listened to the radio interview, here is a link to the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights report (PDF) criticizing NEA, which Ben and Amy talked about this morning. Ben also wrote about these issues at length on the Schools for Tomorrow blog — here and here.

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Jay Mathews Inspires My Radical Ideas to Spend $100 Billion on Education

In today’s Washington Post, education columnist Jay Mathews raises the question: If you had $100 billion to fix our schools, what would you do? Faithful readers know I was skeptical of the federal government’s “magical money tree” a few months ago. My sentiment hasn’t changed. Some ideas for spending 100 billion (that’s a 1 followed by 11 zeroes) new smackeroos in the education bureaucracy inevitably will be better than others, and some may end up yielding some positive results. In his column, Mathews grades five proposals for spending the money, realistically noting of those who submitted the proposals: Their goal is to get the biggest change by January 2012. I think they are dreaming. The federal stimulus is designed to save jobs, not raise student achievement. But some (not all) of the ideas are so good some states might (repeat, might) be tempted to try them. To rate the five proposals yourself, as well as five others Mathews invented, check out his blog post.

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Answers to Failed Tax Proposals? More School Choice and Transparency

On Tuesday, voters in Colorado’s largest school district rejected both a mill levy increase and bond proposal: “When you are a people intense organization those reductions will be people,” [superintendent Cindy] Stevenson said. “That’s teachers, counselors, librarians, um, special education staff. That’s where we’re going to have to look for cuts. And that’s going to be difficult because that will result in increased class size, fewer choices for our kids, less teacher training.” Stevenson said the money from the ballot issues would’ve gone toward teachers, books and significant structural improvements. The first reaction many may have is: Why doesn’t the district threaten to cut the number of administrators rather than classroom staffing? No doubt there are some additional efficiencies that could be found by rearranging these priorities. But no matter how good it makes some people feel to say so, just cutting the size of central administration isn’t the answer.

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No Obama Postcards for Me — Guess I'm Just a Little Bit Too Young to Vote

The National Education Association (NEA) has contacted Josh Pullen of Michigan 19 times (10 phone calls, 9 postcards) asking him to support their preferred presidential candidate. Some of you might say, “Yeah, so what? It’s election season.” Well, Josh’s father disagrees. The most recent postcard urging a vote for “Barak” Obama put him over the edge. That’s right … Josh’s father. Josh is only 6 years old! Maybe if Josh were 7 years old – like O’Jahnae Smith from Connecticut – ACORN (a group under investigation in many states for potentially fraudulent activities) could register him to vote. Blogger Matthew Tabor wonders about NEA’s priorities: The NEA and its brethren consistently moan about low pay for teachers, shortfalls in school budgets, teachers buying their own supplies, etc. If you’ve got an example of hardship and martyrdom, someone at the AFT or NEA is whining about it. All these gripes – and many of them are real problems – and the NEA spends its time, money and other resources on contacting a 6-year old 19 times. When I turn 6, I hope I don’t end up getting harassed like that. Of course, the election will be over by then, too.

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