“We Are at War” – NEA’s Plan of Attack

posted at 1:36 pm on March 23, 2011 by Mike Antonucci

With the situation in Wisconsin stabilized, if not settled, there is time to examine the National Education Association’s strategy for its short-term future. Though reasonable arguments can be made that the collective bargaining measures in Wisconsin, Ohio and Idaho aren’t significantly different from the status quo in other states, there should be no mistake about it – NEA sees them as a threat to its very existence.

The reasons are not hard to understand. NEA has enjoyed substantial membership and revenue growth during the decades-long decline of the labor movement. It is now the largest union in America and by far the largest single political campaign spender in the 50 states.

But after some 27 years of increases, NEA membership is down in 43 states. The union faces a $14 million budget shortfall, and the demand for funds from its Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund is certain to exceed its supply. Even the national UniServ grants, which help pay for NEA state affiliate employees, will be reduced this year.

In the past, NEA has routinely faced challenges to its political agenda, mostly in the form of vouchers, charters and tax limitations. But the state legislative and gubernatorial results in the 2010 mid-term elections emboldened Republicans for the first time to systematically target the sources of NEA’s power, which have little to do with education and everything to do with the provisions of each state’s public sector collective bargaining laws.

Hence the Manichaean battle in Madison. There has been a virtually non-stop expansion of the scope of public sector collective bargaining over the past 35 years. If the tide turns, it may take a lot longer than 35 years to get those privileges back.

“We are at war,” incoming NEA executive director John Stocks told the union’s board of directors last month, outlining a plan to keep NEA from joining the private sector industrial unions in a slow, steady decline into irrelevancy to anyone outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. And like any good war plan for an army under siege, it allows for a defense-in-depth while preparing for a decisive counterattack.

The first line of defense is to stop anti-union legislation at its point of origin. The Wisconsin Education Association Council tried to head off Gov. Walker’s bill with its “bold reforms” campaign. After the bill was introduced, there were massive rallies, sit-ins, and Democratic senators fleeing the state, along with various other parliamentary maneuvers.

The second line of defense is judicial. In Wisconsin, the public sector unions have already stalled the implementation of the collective bargaining bill through court order. But that isn’t the only place. NEA successfully blocked a new law preventing its Alabama affiliate from collecting dues through payroll deduction. Even if these court battles fail, the time consumed will enable NEA to prepare its third line of defense, which is electoral.

Recalls are not out of the question, but it’s more likely that NEA and other public sector unions will seek to ride an increase in activism and a perception of GOP overreach into large victories in 2012. Whatever hostile laws slip through the first two lines will be eliminated by new majorities of union-friendly Democrats.

While arguably weaker than in years past, NEA is still a political powerhouse, and will not be content with lying against the ropes, being pummeled by Republicans. Union officers are smart enough to recognize that the best use of its resources is in the states, rather than in Congress and the White House. Rommel once observed that “the battle is fought and decided by the quartermasters before the shooting begins.” NEA will see to it that its state affiliates are supplied with all the ammunition they need.

Despite its budget shortfall and freeze on executive pay, the national union is flush with cash, and aims to double the size of its political war chest. The bulk of this money will go to the state affiliates, though the national union will have a larger hand in how it is disbursed.

We can expect the state affiliates to spend most of it opposing unfriendly bills and initiatives, but with more money available, there will still be plenty left to fund measures like the proposed capital gains and income tax hikes in Massachusetts.

The need to modify the budget to accommodate reduced revenue actually works in NEA’s favor in a crisis. Just as with government budgets, reductions in NEA budgets tend to cause squawking from the recipients of those funds. In today’s atmosphere, the union will be able to reallocate money to its foremost priorities with little pushback from internal constituencies.

NEA’s growth in membership and political influence over the years has been accompanied more recently by increasingly bad press. In response, the union will be “building a new external narrative about NEA as dedicated to improvement of the profession, student success and social justice.”

Historically, NEA has been slow to embrace new technologies, but the new external narrative requires prominence on the Internet and social media. The NEA message will naturally appear in all its publications – electronic and otherwise – but with a need for rapid response there will be emphasis on the union’s Education Votes web page and its associated Facebook and Twitter outlets. We will also see a greater presence by NEA’s officers in the blogosphere.

Accompanying NEA’s PR strategy will be new research on pensions, tenure and teacher evaluations, collective bargaining and, of course, funding.

Finally, NEA recognizes that its success or failure relies on feelings of solidarity from AFT, private sector unions, and parents. It will downplay differences on side issues in order to gain support on its priorities.

Whether NEA can do all – or any – of these things is an open question. My own judgment is that the union is better as an immovable object than an irresistible force. It is much more likely to successfully stymie its opponents’ initiatives than it is to successfully prosecute its own course of action.

Ultimately, the Republican governors, lawmakers and activists have their work cut out for them. They will be met with defiance, roadblocks, stalling, foot-dragging and subterfuge for as long as these proposals work their way through the legislative process and long after they become law. In the end, NEA may help elect friendly politicians who will restore their lost powers and revenues.

But the same tactics that may gain such victories will negatively affect the union’s public image. Win or lose, NEA’s actions will “build an external narrative” that no PR strategy can alter. The outcome of NEA’s war is still very much in doubt, but that battle has already been decided.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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The new battleground is apparently Florida, where they’re going apesh!t over an attempt to remove the automatic dues set aside from teachers’ paychecks.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Finally, NEA recognizes that its success or failure relies on feelings of solidarity from AFT, private sector unions, and parents.

Parents? Why would they support NEA? Stockholm Syndrome?

iurockhead on March 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Too bad they won’t go to war for the KIDS… Pathetic

reshas1 on March 23, 2011 at 1:43 PM

NEA’s growth in membership and political influence over the years has been accompanied more recently by increasingly bad press. In response, the union will be “building a new external narrative about NEA as dedicated to improvement of the profession, student success and social justice.”

If they think what they did in Wisconsin and what they do at people’s homes and refusing to let banks conduct business is winning friends, they are mistaken. It doesn’t matter how many times trumka meets with obama, he is still a thug, right out of the jimmy hoffa era.

Bambi on March 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM

As implemented, all the disaster taxes and penalties and cost is pushed out to 2014………..not much to wonder about that these are the current neutral “poll numbers”…..

JayTee on March 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The first order of business from a Palin administration should be, to revoke the executive order allowing federal employees to unionize. That will kick the legs out from under the NEA, and give impetus for states to follow suite.

The NEA simply cannot fight on 50 fronts at the same time, or even 30. The republican governors association needs to coordinate and come up with a strategy to destroy, not just teachers unions, but ALL public unions.

Rebar on March 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

We were in a war with militant islam starting in 1979, just didn’t realize it until 2001.

We have been in a war with the NEA since 1977, when an idiot created the Dept of Education, and are just now realizing it.

Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 1:47 PM

The key for the NEA is to do everything they can to coordinate efforts with police unions. It’s much tougher to tell a police officer that they must exit the middle class than it is to tell a teacher.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I submit that the battle many not have been decided, but the war has been. Right to work will prevail.

unclesmrgol on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I would say something constructive about the NEA if I could think of anything constructive about it.

As if it weren’t bad enough to replace our children’s education with propaganda at our expense, now they’re turning themselves into a gang of activist thugs and domestic terrorists.

petefrt on March 23, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Parents? Why would they support NEA? Stockholm Syndrome?

iurockhead on March 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Because some parents can’t afford to send their kids to school. Without the NEA, given enough time Republican governors and legislators will gut the public school system and leave those parents with no options whatsoever.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Here’s a I WSJ piece that needs to be read:

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704433904576212882952061352-lMyQjAxMTAxMDIwMjEyNDIyWj.html

One Ms. Herricks from Oshkosh, WI, seems to say that she’ll get most of her current salary if she retires. Her salary is in the high 50s. She is only 56.

The average WI h/h income is somewhere around 50K, so in her retirement, she’ll have more income that an average h/h.

All that plus health insurance until 65…..and there is favorable tax treatment!!!

These people are fighting to maintain their status as the privileged class. They are enabled by crooked pols who expect a return on “their investment”.

These people are emblematic on the dystopia future we will all face…our roads and services will be reduced, our taxes will go up…and the privileged classes will retire in Fla. on our dime

r keller on March 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Thanks for the update. This is excellent IPB (intelligence preparation of the battlefield). We definitely need to know our enemy. And the and the bloated leeches at the NEA are, unquestionably, the enemy.

WarEagle01 on March 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

No worries. We can all just exist on canned tuna, and day old bread. It’s MORE important that we pay what the NEA demands we pay. *sigh*

capejasmine on March 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

The key for the NEA is to do everything they can to coordinate efforts with police unions. It’s much tougher to tell a police officer that they must exit the middle class than it is to tell a teacher.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Why would teachers and police for that matter have to exit the middle class if public employee unions are abolished?

I’m guessing the bad teachers would have difficulty but then again do they deserve to have middle class wages and upper class benefits?

The good teachers would be worth keeping and the free market would determine their wages. There is a very very good private school near us ($10-14k per year depending on grade level) that the majority of the teachers and administration have been there for years…many over 15 years. I doubt any of them are below middle class.

Ditkaca on March 23, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I’m having flashbacks to 1968 when the crazies were out in force and which resulted in the republicans back in power.

Blake on March 23, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Ditkaca on March 23, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Education wages are propped up by the minimums set by public schools. If you feel that someone tasked with educating your child is only worth $25k a year, so be it, but in many places that’s not enough to raise a middle class family.

I mean, I understand where you’re coming from. Education is mostly wasted time, says the conservative conventional wisdom. These are all liberal commies indoctrinating our children anyway. What do they need more than $25k for? Sure, they have loans from pursuing a masters in education, but screw that, that was their mistake.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Because some parents can’t afford to send their kids to school. Without the NEA, given enough time Republican governors and legislators will gut the public school system and leave those parents with no options whatsoever.

Nonsense. If the government out-and-out paid private school k-12 tuition for everyone, it would still cost less than public schools cost us. People could pich the private schools they like. Schools would compete on the basis of actual results, and bad ones would simply go under.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

We don’t need to gut the public school system. The NEA has already done it for us.

A Balrog of Morgoth on March 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Because some parents can’t afford to send their kids to school. Without the NEA, given enough time Republican governors and legislators will gut the public school system and leave those parents with no options whatsoever.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 1:52 PM

The NEA has already gutted the public school system, graduating children who can’t read, have little or no knowledge of history, rudimentary math, science and English and then demanding more from the already overtaxed taxpayers. Why does the NEA oppose vouchers that would open the doors to many families to send their kids to private schools who do a hell of a lot better job educating children with a whole lot less? Answer. They don’t give a crap about the kids. All the NEA wants to do is to protect salaries and benefits and then cry foul when someone calls them on it.

sdd on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

No worries. We can all just exist on canned tuna, and day old bread. It’s MORE important that we pay what the NEA demands we pay. *sigh*

capejasmine on March 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

You know, you’re just crazy enough to believe that, aren’t you? That if – for whatever reason – you wind up eating catfood, that it’ll be some teacher’s fault.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

How about a Masters in English, Math, History or a Hard Science?

A Balrog of Morgoth on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

If you feel that someone tasked with educating your child is only worth $25k a year, so be it, but in many places that’s not enough to raise a middle class family.

I mean, I understand where you’re coming from. Education is mostly wasted time, says the conservative conventional wisdom. These are all liberal commies indoctrinating our children anyway. What do they need more than $25k for? Sure, they have loans from pursuing a masters in education, but screw that, that was their mistake.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Yes, it was their mistake. Someone is worth their market value, nothing more – I couldn’t care less what they do with the money they earn, nor do I care what “class” they belong to, as long as I feel I am getting my money’s worth in the service I am paying for.

Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

r keller on March 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM


Interesting comment on the wsj piece at the site:

Interesting the salary noted was high 50′s for Ms. Herricks – WI Teacher Salaries are accessible by a database through the postcrescent.com; link: http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F99999999%2FAPC0110%2F80221166&appSession=828207649447505&RecordID=620561&PageID=3&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=&CPIorderBy=&template=artinteractive

For 2009-2010 it shows Mary Herricks with salary = $68,423, fringe = $13,917 and Len Herricks salary = $75,916, fringe = $32,635. I’m happy for them since they seem to have liked their jobs and are going to be able to retire and still teach, but wonder why she reported a lower salary.

mauioriginal on March 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

We don’t need to gut the public school system. The NEA has already done it for us.

A Balrog of Morgoth on March 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Which has me thinking that the first prong of the attack on the NEA should be a repeal of automatic dues payment from all teacher paychecks at a state by state level to starve the beast.

The second prong should be a push to implement school voucher programs in each state. That would allow kids to get a real education while also starving the beast further by pulling even more precious funding.

In areas where the public school system is already a shambles, such as in cities within southern Louisiana like Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Lake Charles, it would be easy to get a lot of people to support this because the schools there are notoriously dysfunctional and many parents are already sending kids to private schools as a result.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Nonsense. If the government out-and-out paid private school k-12 tuition for everyone, it would still cost less than public schools cost us.
Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

By and large that’s simply not true. And vouchers would result in certain children finding no education, as private schools can be selective where public schools must take anyone from the district. In areas like the south bronx, there are not enough private school seats for every student, and with so many students behind in reading and math, even if there were enough private school seats, no one would take the kids.

Either way, fighting the NEA on this essentially requires one to act towards ending public education. Poor children must have access to an education, and for whatever reason conservatives seem to disagree.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

The new battleground is apparently Florida, where they’re going apesh!t over an attempt to remove the automatic dues set aside from teachers’ paychecks.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM

It has to be only the goons that run the unions and use them as a political tool that are opposed to this measure, because which union employee doesn’t want to choose whether to pay dues or not?

slickwillie2001 on March 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

For 2009-2010 it shows Mary Herricks with salary = $68,423, fringe = $13,917 and Len Herricks salary = $75,916, fringe = $32,635. I’m happy for them since they seem to have liked their jobs and are going to be able to retire and still teach, but wonder why she reported a lower salary.

Because they don’t teach honesty in teachers school; just “do whatever it takes to get more”.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

The key for the NEA is to do everything they can to coordinate efforts with police unions. It’s much tougher to tell a police officer that they must exit the middle class than it is to tell a teacher.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Eliminate all the overpaid admins and you could afford to pay the good teachers good salaries on merit. Many teachers in my family – they all welcome annual reviews to determine which teachers are under-performing.

DeweyWins on March 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Oh,,the Civility.

retiredeagle on March 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Someone is worth their market value, nothing more
Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I believe this makes you a sociopath. Its people like you that will eventually have every American worker earning 3rd world wages.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

We were in a war with militant islam starting in 1979, just didn’t realize it until 2001.

We have been in a war with the NEA since 1977, when an idiot created the Dept of Education, and are just now realizing it.

Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Same war! Militant islam is allied with the radical Left in our country and in Europe. Makes no sense at all but then Marxism didn’t either.

slickwillie2001 on March 23, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Why would teachers and police for that matter have to exit the middle class if public employee unions are abolished?

Ditkaca on March 23, 2011 at 1:57 PM

What ernie doesn’t know, because he’s a glittering example of an NEA style education, is that the middle class existed long before labor unions. So did weekends for that matter.

CurtZHP on March 23, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Yes, it was their mistake. Someone is worth their market value, nothing more

Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

This.

I toyed with the idea of becoming a history teacher at one point, but that idea died an ugly death when I realized how overcrowded the field is, which drove down the market value significantly.

I ended up much better off going down a business / IT route instead and haven’t regretted it.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Yup. I said this three or four weeks ago. We’ve disturbed the union thugs and they decided that we have to pay.

joeindc44 on March 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Rush is talking about something similar now, how a judge is attacking Christie’s budget cuts.

joeindc44 on March 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Education wages are propped up by the minimums set by public schools. If you feel that someone tasked with educating your child is only worth $25k a year, so be it, but in many places that’s not enough to raise a middle class family.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Where does that 25K figure come from? There are no full-time public school teachers working for that salary anywhere in the US. There are private school teachers who work for less than that. In my school district a brand new teacher fresh out of college will make over $40,000 a year. They will make close to 90,0000 by the time they retire if the NEA is unable to extort anything more from the taxpayers. And I li9ve in a right to work state…thank God. Stop blowing false numbers out your arse to support an already weak argument.

sdd on March 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Overcrowded in affluent, white suburbs, sure. Poor schools aren’t flooded with good history teachers, though.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

“We are at war,” incoming NEA executive director John Stocks told the union’s board of directors last month,

Violent rhetoric?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Either way, fighting the NEA on this essentially requires one to act towards ending public education. Poor children must have access to an education, and for whatever reason conservatives seem to disagree.

Nope. What we disagree with is 1) the only way to get an education is for the teachers to work for the government, and 2) teachers should get to take as much of our money as they want, always, whether in good times or bad, and whether we have it to give or not, and we’d da*n better shut up and like it.

The simple, universal fact that you can’t order the one who pays you around forever, is going to make itself felt again. As it should be. If it’s not enough money for those selfless, “everything for the children” teachers, then they can choose other careers. The schools will be nothing but better for their absence.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

We’ve disturbed the union thugs and they decided that we have to pay.

joeindc44 on March 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM

That may be true, but they awakened a sleeping giant by the way things went down in Wisconsin.

The AP tried to fisk Scott Walker’s claims that e-mails were 3-2 in his favor and ended up exposing that the public furor against the unions didn’t reach a critical mass until a few days before the Fleebaggers left town, at which time a torrent of support began showing up for him.

This has struck a nerve with a lot of people and I think that the union thugs are going to find it hard to bring things back to the way they were before they picked a fight over this.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

There seems to be a contradiction here. You say:

Despite its budget shortfall and freeze on executive pay, the national union is flush with cash, and aims to double the size of its political war chest.

Earlier, you said the union is facing debt of $14 million. . . but they are flush with cash? Which is it?
What is the real financial situation of the union here?
Are they on the ropes?
What will the potential elimination of the state government’s collection of dues across the country do to the union in real financial terms?

rlyle on March 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM

sdd on March 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Fresh teachers make $40k a year starting out in your district. That’s above the average, first of all, and secondly my whole point is that you want them to be making less. If you were in Kansas, that figure would be $27k. You want them making less, hence the $25k figure I throw out.

Over a dozen states would be looking at offering starting teachers $25k or even less if salaries are cut. How the hell are we supposed to provide a decent education for those who cannot afford it if that’s what we’re offering teachers?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Overcrowded in affluent, white suburbs, sure. Poor schools aren’t flooded with good history teachers, though.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Do you always focus on race like that?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:22 PM

By and large that’s simply not true. And vouchers would result in certain children finding no education, as private schools can be selective where public schools must take anyone from the district. In areas like the south bronx, there are not enough private school seats for every student, and with so many students behind in reading and math, even if there were enough private school seats, no one would take the kids.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

You have absolutely no understanding of economics do you. Probably because your public school teacher didn’t understand it either. Demand creates supply, not the other way around. There are not enough private schools in the South Bronx because the lack of vouchers prevents increases in demand. Allow the vouchers and the private schools will find seats for those who want them.

sdd on March 23, 2011 at 2:22 PM

teke, yeah, I hope so. I think the union thugs in Wisconsin can’t tell the difference between the retreads who live in Madison and have little to no problem spending months protesting and breaking the law versus the rest of the state that is generally pro-labor but hates themselves some hippies and probably hates themselves some teachers making $100K.

joeindc44 on March 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

How do you guarantee an education for those who cannot afford it if no teachers work for the government, at any level?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

For goodness sakes, people, please stop feeding the trolls. It only encourages them, and there is no chance of them seeing any reason on the subject.

iurockhead on March 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM

My other point being that it’s a good thing that this is bubbling to the surface now because as Madison is showing us that while we are not quite at Greece levels of union thug brazeness, they are quite brazen.

joeindc44 on March 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM

If you are forced to join a union against your will and have those dues confiscated by the state without your permission, it needs to be voted on by those involved and not dictated by the government.

volsense on March 23, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Allow the vouchers and the private schools will find seats for those who want them.

sdd on March 23, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Even a trained economist wouldn’t offer this guarantee. While supply and demand implies that forces will act to balance any serious inequalities, there is no guarantee. As it stands, however, society has to guarantee that every individual, regardless of their means, has the access to an education.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Overcrowded in affluent, white suburbs, sure. Poor schools aren’t flooded with good history teachers, though.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Poor schools may not be flooded with applicants for reasons other than the student body or the neighborhood.

At least one public school teacher I knew in EBR Parish, who worked at one of the worst schools in town, pretty much laid out that a lot of the problems there were due to a principal who was little more than a dictator who had no idea what she was doing.

She only took it for as long as she did because she didn’t want to abandon the kids to the other teachers who were completely apathetic and just drawing a paycheck.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

She only took it for as long as she did because she didn’t want to abandon the kids to the other teachers who were completely apathetic and just drawing a paycheck.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

And so the way to solve this is to cut teacher salaries and benefits?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

How do you guarantee an education for those who cannot afford it if no teachers work for the government, at any level?

First, let’s see how many there actually are, shall we? Speaking for myself, if the government let me keep the 10 or so freaking GRAND I pay in school taxes a year, I’d probably be willing to donate some of it into a fund, (administered by the school, not the da*n government) to offer scholarships for the needy.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:31 PM

You know, you’re just crazy enough to believe that, aren’t you? That if – for whatever reason – you wind up eating catfood, that it’ll be some teacher’s fault.
ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Well Che, I’m paying for my own health ins and the local NEA members’ too, so why is that not a reasonable assumption, you total waste of skin and O2?

Akzed on March 23, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I believe this makes you a sociopath. Its people like you that will eventually have every American worker earning 3rd world wages.

No, fool. Only the ones who are only WORTH 3rd world wages. Hard work will still get one ahead, as it should. NOT doing any, ought NOT to.

I’ll be ding-busted if I’m going to happily work hard to get someone ahead who will simply not EVER lift a finger to get himself ahead.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

…vouchers would result in certain children finding no education… there are not enough private school seats for every student.

So… what? Privatize all public schools, put the student body’s parents in charge of hiring and firing, writing paychecks, collecting tuition etc. Make them compete on academics and they will elevate the quality of their product.

Either way, fighting the NEA on this essentially requires one to act towards ending public education. Poor children must have access to an education, and for whatever reason conservatives seem to disagree. ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Oh, so you think that poor children are being educated now by their NEA babysitters? Seen any test scores lately?

What were those same tests in those same schools like before the NEA became a union, Che?

Akzed on March 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Speaking for myself, if the government let me keep the 10 or so freaking GRAND I pay in school taxes a year, I’d probably be willing to donate some of it into a fund, (administered by the school, not the da*n government) to offer scholarships for the needy.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:31 PM

You might, or you might not. In this country, though, we have to guarantee access to education for everyone. As it stands, the only institution capable of that guarantee is government.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:39 PM

And so the way to solve this is to cut teacher salaries and benefits?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The point, you miss it.

There were specific problems with the schools, mainly in administration which is a VERY common issue with public schools, and things didn’t get addressed.

The protection of the middle-management class at these schools, such as principals, vice-principals, various “educational specialists”, etc., end up tying up a LOT of money for people of questionable value.

This is even more true in my area, where a number of people were caught up in a scandal at Southern University in which they bribed a registrar to get credit for classes or entire degrees that they never earned. At least one husband-wife pair ended up getting bogus masters degrees that they used to secure high-paying management positions with the school system in the region.

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Privatize all public schools, put the student body’s parents in charge of hiring and firing, writing paychecks, collecting tuition etc. Make them compete on academics and they will elevate the quality of their product.

Akzed on March 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Better yet, just decentralize the system. The privitization step is just your inner urge to write a fat check to an upper class CEO-type.

However, I’d love to see public schools decentralized – though still tax funded – with full control of administration given to the district’s parents.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

I’d like to see some sort of basis for this assertion about $25k. I go to every school board meeting and the salaries of all our new hires are public information. I’m glad we have teachers in my District earning $70k, because they’re great teachers (we get 90%-plus proficient or advanced test scores across the boards, all age groups, ethnicities, etc.). I don’t want their salaries cut. But to think their salaries and benefits, and the contributions to their pensions, can grow faster than anything in this economy is just crazy. Municipalities cannot defy gravity like that.

You know, you’re just crazy enough to believe that, aren’t you? That if – for whatever reason – you wind up eating catfood, that it’ll be some teacher’s fault.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

My tiny little District (probably fewer than 4,000 kids all told) faces a $3 million shortfall because of statewide accelerated teacher pension obligations, in this year alone. It’s now a structural problem we are having to address, affecting all future budgets. Now, I can afford higher property taxes — but the 30% of the population in my District who are elderly fixed-income cannot, and the Commonwealth provides no facility for refundable credits or alternative means of creating a tiered tax structure. So it’s entirely likely that higher property taxes resulting from these budget situations might lead to some food budget cutbacks for seniors.

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 2:43 PM

“We are at war,”

Hey! Didn’t the left decide that this type of rhetoric was no longer acceptable?

GarandFan on March 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Better yet, just decentralize the system. The privitization step is just your inner urge to write a fat check to an upper class CEO-type.

However, I’d love to see public schools decentralized – though still tax funded – with full control of administration given to the district’s parents.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM

So, you disagree with the NEA that blocks any kind of moves in this direction?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

The protection of the middle-management class at these schools, such as principals, vice-principals, various “educational specialists”, etc., end up tying up a LOT of money for people of questionable value.

I forgot to mention that my tiny little District has two Deputy Superintendents, one of those positions being mandated by the Commonwealth, and specifically detailed to curriculum. Damnum absque injuria, we basically have a mandated curriculum so I’m not sure what the hell she does — but she makes $100k per year.

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 2:47 PM

As it stands, however, society has to guarantee that every individual, regardless of their means, has the access to an education.

Who says? Even Christ said you’ll always have the poor, struggling and striving.

When my mom couldn’t afford to send me to Catholic grade school, she talked to the bishop. He got us in. And no taxpayer was a penny poorer for it. Charity should get back to being charity. People should decide to give it, not have it ripped from them by the government in whatever amounts a band of thugs demands.

Look, you’re going to lose this one. As long as anyone is raising their voice in the sort of outrage at the unions that is being heard, it’s all over but the shouting. It’s our money. WE earn it. You will not back us down.

Now shut up and suffer. Or better, be a man and go earn your own. It’s all the same to me.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:47 PM

So, you disagree with the NEA that blocks any kind of moves in this direction?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I stand with the NEA in continually arguing in favor of protecting or increasing teacher pay and benefits. I generally disagree with their administrative recommendations. I’m actually a huge proponent of decentralization in all aspects of government and the economy.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

“We are at war,”

Hey! Didn’t the left decide that this type of rhetoric was no longer acceptable?

GarandFan on March 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Only in the sense that we on the right were supposed to sit down and shut up, along with turning in our guns.

The double-standard left can still do whatever they please in the furtherance of their oppressive agenda.

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:47 PM

F*ck the poor, got it.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

And so the way to solve this is to cut teacher salaries and benefits?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

….And link them to performance. Remember, no one forced ANYONE to become a teacher. That career choice was made freely.

Koa on March 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

So, you disagree with the NEA that blocks any kind of moves in this direction?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I stand with the NEA in continually arguing in favor of protecting or increasing teacher pay and benefits. I generally disagree with their administrative recommendations. I’m actually a huge proponent of decentralization in all aspects of government and the economy.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Do you realize that we are running out of money?

Or do you agree with Steve Lerner when he said:


We’re not broke, there’s plenty of money; they have the money, we need to get it back;

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:54 PM

However, I’d love to see public schools decentralized – though still tax funded – with full control of administration given to the district’s parents.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Geographically small districts with frequent at-large board races are one way to do this. But you’ve got to find some way to get involvement from the parents you’re not involving now, or nothing will change. I would be willing to bet you could explain 30% or more of the variation in student performance, long-term, based on whether the parents review their kids’ homework assignments every night.

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Koa on March 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

And you need people to keep making that choice. As a matter of fact, you need even more talented people making that choice than we currently have. I don’t see how we do that by reducing the incentives to enter the profession.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

By golly I don’t see ‘delivering excellent education to kids’ listed anywhere on this war plan!

perries on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

You already knew you were going to lose this one. Got it.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I’ll believe we’ve run out of money when we stop lobbing missiles into the desert.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

F*ck the poor, got it.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

You have really bought into a line of bulls**t there, my friend. That reflexive stereotyping of anyone who wants to change the system as classist, racist, or acting counter to their perceived self-interest is a huge protective wall around even sensible reform.

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I got exactly what I wanted. You illustrated the underlying logic behind everyone else’s comments, that the poor do not deserve an education. All I wanted was some honesty, and you gladly offered it. Thank you!

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

And you need people to keep making that choice. As a matter of fact, you need even more talented people making that choice than we currently have. I don’t see how we do that by reducing the incentives to enter the profession.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Welcome to the laws of supply and demand. There will always be some that will make the choice regardless, but with private competition, and dwindling supply to increasing demand guess what happens to the wages?

Koa on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I’ve already agreed with some of the “conservative” reform proposals left here by other commenters. Decentralizing the system, putting district parents in charge of administration, etc. On the issue of pay, though, I cannot support cutting salaries and I cannot support erasing benefits.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I’ll believe we’ve run out of money when we stop lobbing missiles into the desert.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

That doesn’t answer the question:

Do you agree with Steve Lerner when he said:


We’re not broke, there’s plenty of money; they have the money, we need to get it back;

Do you agree with assertion or not?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

That doesn’t answer the question:

Do you agree with Steve Lerner when he said:


We’re not broke, there’s plenty of money; they have the money, we need to get it back;

Do you agree with THAT assertion or not?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I’ll believe we’ve run out of money when we stop lobbing missiles into the desert.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

It was more original when it was phrased as “I’d love to see teachers get all the funding they want while the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

teke184 on March 23, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Oh NOES! ernestro insists, simply INSISTS that we “think of the poor children who, were it not for the NEA, would not receive the edumacation that they deserve!!!!” Except, of course, they right now don’t receive the education they deserve. What would the difference be if the inner city schools shut down? The motivated kids would still learn, the non motivated ones won’t. Same as it is now. I’d MUCH rather put some that inner city billions into more libraries, with available tutors. Parents who give a crap will make their kids learn. Parents who don’t… well, their kids will turn out horrible. Just like they are now! But their taxes would go down. And there would probably be better results, for sure.

Education isn’t a constitutional right.

Vanceone on March 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Do you agree with assertion or not?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

His “they” is probably different from my “they”. As far as I’m concerned, the military has our money, and the last 2 administrations have seen to it that the military throws it all away in the desert. They have the money, and we need to get it back.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I got exactly what I wanted. You illustrated the underlying logic behind everyone else’s comments, that the poor do not deserve an education.

Hilarious, ernesto.

Everyone here supports poor parents being able to send a child to the school of their choice. You oppose that.

Everyone here supports unionized teachers who prevent poor children from succeeding being fired. You oppose that.

Everyone here opposes unions who protect bad teachers and force poor children into substandard schools, all while blocking any route of escape for them and forcing their parents to pay more and more for substandard product. You endorse and fully support those unions.

You hate the poor, ernesto. You simply exploit and use them to push your leftist dogma, and you leave them in filth and squalor because to advance them would weaken your power over them. You are like your Obama Party ancestors who refused to educate slaves or even allow them to learn to read; your primary concern is holding them as your permanent puppets.

You have demonstrated for all of us that you hate the poor and will gladly enslave them to try to get your hands on other peoples’ hard-earned money.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Vanceone on March 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Poor kids don’t deserve an education, got it. You know, I’m wondering when republicans will run for office and make such statements. Such honesty would be greatly appreciated, I think.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM

On the issue of pay, though, I cannot support cutting salaries and I cannot support erasing benefits.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Of course you can. You force union dues higher every year and you force teachers to pay more and more, which you yourself have stated is a “salary cut”.

Eliminate union dues and give teachers the right to decide if they wish to spend their money on a union or not.

Now watch how fast Ernesto supports salary cuts and taking money away from teachers.

And also, Ernesto, please state that you oppose any salary cut or benefit cut for any time for any teacher and that this is always wrong.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

You have really bought into a line of bulls**t there, my friend. That reflexive stereotyping of anyone who wants to change the system as classist, racist, or acting counter to their perceived self-interest is a huge protective wall around even sensible reform.

Not only that — it is not a strategy that will NEVER again work on people who are angry about being robbed. That he can’t come up with an approach that doesn’t involve calling ugly names by itself shows that he will lose this one. He may go down kicking and screaming and calling names (what else would a liberal do?) but go down he will. Nobody wants to be a slave. And we certainly won’t be shouted and shamed into it. Not anymore.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

You illustrated the underlying logic behind everyone else’s comments

Please leave me out of your generalizations.

On “cutting salaries” and “erasing benefits,” you’re being overbroad and sloppy. You’re actually saying there are no overpaid teachers anywhere in America? Really? And you think everyone here wants to eliminate all teacher benefits?

Dial back the faux outrage and maybe you can engage in a constructive conversation… however it’s becoming clear to me that you take positions based on how they allow you to feel about yourself (defined in opposition to people you’ve been told are evil, I guess), so maybe that’s not why you come around here.

DrSteve on March 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Everyone here supports poor parents being able to send a child to the school of their choice. You oppose that.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM

I’d be glad to support vouchers, so long as laws are put in place that limit how selective the body of private schools can be. A low test score or history of disruption cannot become a barrier to entry into the education system. Should such arrangements be made to guarantee access, and perhaps continue publicly funded busing, I’d accept vouchers.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Either way, fighting the NEA on this essentially requires one to act towards ending public education. Poor children must have access to an education, and for whatever reason conservatives seem to disagree.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Hate to tell you this, Ernie, but you don’t know what the hell you’re spouting off there. I have three children. All three go to private school. Our income is UNDER 30K/year. But we find a way because we want the BEST for our children. Poor children DO HAVE ACCESS to quality private education if they are willing to make it happen.

Many private schools have scholarship programs for families with needs. There are more and more online schools that will even provide the computer and internet access if the family doesn’t already have it.

The reason Conservatives disagree with the current government run system of education has more to do with the lies and patterns of obstruction coming from the public education system.

I have served on the board of a private school and I can tell you this, dear Ernie, the NEA and the public school system are the main impediments to the poor having more access to quality private education.

Ace ODale on March 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Poor kids don’t deserve an education, got it. You know, I’m wondering when republicans will run for office and make such statements. Such honesty would be greatly appreciated, I think.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Ernesto, as has already been demonstrated, you hate the poor and don’t believe they deserve an education. That is why you leave them in substandard schools to be ignored, raped, and molested by union teachers, and block any attempt to give their parents choices as to where to send their children.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Steve Lerner:

We’re not broke, there’s plenty of money; they have the money, we need to get it back;

Do you agree with THAT assertion or not?

His “they” is probably different from my “they”. As far as I’m concerned, the military has our money, and the last 2 administrations have seen to it that the military throws it all away in the desert. They have the money, and we need to get it back.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Do you agree with that or not?

You’re dancing around the first part of that sentence, now what is your answer?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I’d be glad to support vouchers, so long as laws are put in place that limit how selective the body of private schools can be. A low test score or history of disruption cannot become a barrier to entry into the education system. Should such arrangements be made to guarantee access, and perhaps continue publicly funded busing, I’d accept vouchers.

You lie. Washington DC’s voucher program met all of these criterian and you and the NEA demanded that Obama eliminate it.

You are a liar, ernesto. You had a chance to put in place exactly that and you fought it. The facts demonstrate that you are a liar who hates the poor.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

If ending mandatory dues came with a guarantee to tie wages to inflation and to freeze benefits, I’d take it. Teachers deserve more, not less, for what they’ve been tasked to do.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I demanded no such thing.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

And you gave me what I wanted. Proof that you’re asking for the one thing no human ever had, ever will have, or can be made to have: a guarantee.

And you want it on everybody else’s dime. It’s true – liberals are just spoiled children. They want, they want, and they want, and they want someone else working to give it to them. No understanding of reality at all.

Dirty Creature on March 23, 2011 at 3:11 PM

If the Unions REALLY wanted to make a difference, they could bring back apprenticeships. That’s a plan I’d like. And a union would be good there. But let me tell you: in my small rural county, we have a total of 3 high schools, and as far as I know 3 middle schools, and 6 elementary schools, and 2 school districts, with nice fancy buildings for district headquarters and lots of parking and staff and high school taxes. Exactly how much administration do we need for that few schools? But we sure as heck pay for it!

Ernesto thinks that my taxes should be perpetually going up to pay for all of that. Guess what, dude: my state forks over over half of all tax dollars to education. Then there’s the property taxes on top of that. That leaves less than 30 percent of all taxes in my state to run EVERY SINGLE THING ELSE that the state does or is responsible for. Roads, health, medicare, medicaid, EVERYTHING ELSE. And the schools demand more, more, more! It’s for the children! How can you be so selfish, we need more more more! Seventy percent of all tax dollars isn’t enough you selfish brats! You hate teh children!

When is it too much? Tell me, Ernesto, when am I going to be taxed enough to pay for “education”? When 99.9999% of all taxes goes to it? And we drive horses because the roads are impassible?

Vanceone on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Ernesto demands pay and benefit increases for teachers who rape and molest students.

Ernesto demands pay and benefit increases for teachers who get drunk during the school day.

Ernesto demands pay and benefit increases for teachers who commit crimes on school property.

Ernesto demands pay and benefit increases for incompetent teachers.

Ernesto demands pay and benefit increases for incompetent teachers and then demands that competent ones with less seniority be fired to pay for them.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I demanded no such thing.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Yes you did, ernesto. Your NEA and you demanded that Washington DC’s voucher program be ended, and you ordered the Obama administration to do it.

Again, you are a liar. Their voucher system met your criteria and you and your NEA demanded it be eliminated. You blocked hundreds of poor children from actually receiving an education and forced them back into public schools where it was virtually guaranteed that their NEA-protected teachers would teach them nothing.

The proof is in the pudding, ernesto, and you and your NEA pissed in it.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

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