“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.

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northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I do feel that as a career education should offer more than what it does in many districts, but I do not support “1st in, 1st out” policies, nor did I oppose the DC voucher program.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

On that issue, I simply disagree with the NEA’s decision.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Also remember, people; ernesto continuously demands for taxes to be increased because neither he or his Obama Party pay their taxes, as we see from Claire McCaskill, John Kerry, Tim Geithner, Kathleen Sebelius, Charles Rangel, and all the other Obama Party members.

Obama Party members used to scream that tax cheats hate the poor. Funny how ernesto won’t acknowledge that tax cheats in the Obama Party hurt the poor, then,

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:16 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

Pffft… How oh how do private school teachers live on their pathetic salary? Cat food, you say? Not in the middle class, you say? Absolute nonsense.

Steel on March 23, 2011 at 3:17 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 3:17 PM

Funny how ernesto won’t acknowledge that tax cheats in the Obama Party hurt the poor, then,

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

What do you mean? Of course they hurt the poor.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I certainly agree with it.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I do feel that as a career education should offer more than what it does in many districts, but I do not support “1st in, 1st out” policies, nor did I oppose the DC voucher program.

Liar. The NEA argues that all of those are necessary to protect teacher pay and benefits, and you always support the NEA doing that.

You hate the poor, ernesto. That’s why you support the unions that imprison poor children in substandard schools, block any chance for their parents to choose to put them elsewhere, and protect the incompetent teachers that rape and molest them mentally and physically.

Why do you hate competent teachers and allow the NEA to punish them, ernesto? Why do you state that incompetent teachers should receive pay and benefits increases?

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:20 PM

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

You must hate poor kids…

Akzed on March 23, 2011 at 3:21 PM

What do you mean? Of course they hurt the poor.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM
And you support and endorse them.

So you hate the poor and are out to hurt them.

We already knew you were a racist who doesn’t believe black parents should be allowed to choose where to send their children, ernesto. Now it seems you also acknowledge that you support people who deliberately act to hurt the poor.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:21 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

Too stupid to know the difference between state and federal gov’t. And too stupid to know that the military budget is almost nothing compared with entitlements. Plus, we don’t know at this point to what extent we are replacing missles that we already have (i.e., were already paid for) that we are currently using.

So, ignorance on almost all levels. Regardless, funding is not any public school’s problem. Even in the most downtrodden urban school district, spending per student, adjusted for inflation, is much, much, much higher today than it was in 1980, 1970, or 1960, when there were better results. So, obviously money is not the issue. Any claim to the contrary is the same b.s. that liberals spout every time. Somehow, if we just spend more money this time, we’ll see results. Even though every single year for the past 50 years we have spent more money on education and the results have worsened and worsened.

So, money went up (significantly) and results went down. What is the other factor here? Why, unionization of public school teachers. Each year that the money spent on education went further up and the results went further down, more and more teachers became unionized. Cause and effect? Maybe. we’ve certainly tried the spend more approach and the treat teachers better approach (better compensation, benefits, job security – the percentage of unionized public education teachers actually fired is something like less than 1% – what other job, career, or profession can boast that? and statistacilly).

So, obviously the correct course of action for any rational person is to roll back the unionization of teachers. See if that effects results. The irrational person looks at the actual facts and says – give teachers more and spend more on public education.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 3:22 PM

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:20 PM

As I stated earlier, I’m not in agreement with the NEA on administrative policy. I do support the notion of teachers organizing to collectively bargain for salary and benefits, but their administrative policies are generally misguided and/or outdated.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:23 PM

In case anyone has forgotten (ernesto?), here is Iowahawk’s take down of the myth that having unionized teachers results in better educated students.

If we are having a discussion for any reason other than what is best at educating students, then there is no reason to have the discussion.

Cecil on March 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Che routinely understands that opposition to a govt program means opposition to the nouns in that program’s name.

E.g., if someone wants to do away with the Food and Drug Admin., he hates food and drugs.

Try it, it works every time.

It couldn’t possibly be that one favoring private educational initiatives for their efficiencies and results is a practical decision, no no, it must be because one hates education – at least for Democrat Party constituencies.

Akzed on March 23, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Steve Lerner:

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

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

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I certainly agree with it.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM

That money represents people’s time and effort, so by extension are you agreeeing that the government has a claim on people’s time and effort?

Chip on March 23, 2011 at 3:26 PM

As I stated earlier, I’m not in agreement with the NEA on administrative policy. I do support the notion of teachers organizing to collectively bargain for salary and benefits, but their administrative policies are generally misguided and/or outdated.

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Oh, we see; you don’t agree with them, but you think government should give into every one of their demands, every taxpayer should be indentured to them at a higher and higher rate annually, and that their policies should be incorporated as governmental education policy.

That makes zero sense. But then again, you’re a blind ideologue who has no rational basis for anything that he’s saying, so it’s not exactly a surprise.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I do feel that as a career education should offer more than what it does in many districts, but I do not support “1st in, 1st out” policies, nor did I oppose the DC voucher program.

Why? the job does not take significant intellectual heft or education, is much easier than most jobs – shorter hours, less accountability, more job security, much, much more vacation. What exactly is the basis for believing that “education” as a career should pay more? I always hear this but never hear an answer to this question. The market provides more than enough qualified, competent teachers at current market rates – indeed I know of a number of teachers who cannot find jobs currently. Having represneted school districts, I know that they have no shortage of qualified applicants for any opening. So any claim of “we need to pay more” to attract teachers is simply untrue.

so why do we need to pay them more? It’s not the market. It’s not because they are so educated (every person I have known who pursued “education” as a major was a “b” student at best. And, if you have ever reviewed an “education” cirriculum, you know it is not a difficult major. I know someone who was taking Master’s in Education classes – the academic level was a joke – they did things like cut headlines out of magazines and make posters. And this was at a well respected school. There’s no hard math or science in an “education” degree. No serious research or writing. No vigorous oral exams.

so, the market does not require higher pay and higher pay is not required b/c of the level of education. What exactly, requires that teachers be paid so well?

I know the answer b/c they have to deal with kids and its “hard”. So do babysitters and day-care workers. so do private school teachers who are paid much less. So do parents. They chose the field knowing that dealing with kids is what you do. Tough.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM

How do you guarantee an education for those who cannot afford it and pay no taxes or are here in the U.S. illegally, if no teachers work for the government, at any level?

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

FIFY

Ditkaca on March 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM

The reason ernesto whines that teachers need to be paid more is simple: the more they are paid, the more they have to cough up in dues, and the more kickbacks and bribes can be paid to the Obama Party machine and its syncophants like ernesto.

I have a very simple solution for the problem. Ban all political contributions from public employees, including public employee associations, and watch what happens.

northdallasthirty on March 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM

In case anyone has forgotten (ernesto?), here is Iowahawk’s take down of the myth that having unionized teachers results in better educated students.

If we are having a discussion for any reason other than what is best at educating students, then there is no reason to have the discussion.

Cecil on March 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

the idea that unions “police” quality is absurd on its face. A union legally exists for one reason: to protect its members interests. This includes protecting the very worst teachers from losing their jobs as well as ensuring the least level of work or accountability. That is the sole purpose of a union. It would go against the very reason for a union’s existence to do quality control of its members or agreeing to anything that held its members more accountable or required more work of its members.

And, I’m not saying this as a normative critique – I’m saying it as a fact. A teachers union does not exist to improve education. It exists to make life better for the teacher. That is its only mission. Anything that conflicts with that mission must be opposed by the union or it is legally liable to its members for failing to protect its members’ interests.

Claiming that a union makes a school better is simply ignorant of the very purpose of a union and of a union’s statutory and fiduciary duties to its members.

Anyone promoting such an argument should immediately be discounted as either ignorant or dishonest.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM

If we are having a discussion for any reason other than what is best at educating students, then there is no reason to have the discussion.

Cecil on March 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I don’t think that is entirely true. As with all things, there has to be a discussion of what is the best option that is affordable. There are many things that could be best for student (i.e., a 1:1 teacher/student ratio) that simply is not affordable. so cost has to be considered and discussed.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 3:42 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

Take it up with Adam Smith. Better yet, take it up with God, since all Smith did was illustrate reality.

Vashta.Nerada on March 23, 2011 at 3:47 PM

I think Ernesto is right.

Since 1970 we’ve raised inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending by 190%. Clearly this was a valuable expenditure of funds; now we’re spending almost 3* what we spent in 9170; but the kids coming out of school are 3* smarter; right? No?

Oh, they’re about the same, a little worse?

Well clearly we need even more money to throw at the problem.

Ernesto, if, over 40 years we constantly increase expenditures (inflation adjusted dollars) and don’t see any benefit until we hit triple our initial cost; why would spending more be good? Why would spending less be bad?

What other expenditures should we triple with nothing to show for it? Or are teachers the only place we should behave this way?

Would you pay triple for your rent to live in the same place you live now; or would you think that tripling cost with no gain is a poor economic choice?

Teaching is a useful profession; so are many other professions. You don’t start most professions making enough to support a family… why should teaching be different?

Are the teachers the best and brightest at colleges? Not by any metric I’ve seen, no.

But we should give them more money than others in more complicated programs with more education and skills because… they’re teachers? You’re going to need more than that.

“For the children”? So they can get less educated than we did before spending 190% more… is that good for them? Or for the people receiving the paychecks?

Compare the grades, educational ranking, and schooling requirements for Kansas; and the starting salaries… that $25K really isn’t out of the range of introductory job offers, right out of college, in that area. But when you don’t live there you don’t see the different cost of living/wage differences.

gekkobear on March 23, 2011 at 3:48 PM

ernesto:
NEA is crap. I know bcs to be an NDEA member, I must be an NEA member.
ND is right to work.
The union does not have that much power here.
So collabertation ni negotiations is very civil 7 coopertaive.
We do not strike.
Each district bargains with the teachers over pay & benefits.
My district gives me the following:
A base pay of ~$28,500 (that’s for ME at my current experience level of 8 yrs)
Contribution of ~97% toward a family health ins plan
Contribution of 1/2 of my TFFR fund (retirement)
10 sick days/yr-can save them up to unlimited & if I leave or retire, get paid ~$10/each day.
3 personal days/yr. Can save up to 5 in one year.
We even have %30 tuition assistance.
My work day is from 7:45 am-3:45 pm M-F.
After taxes & union dues etc, I NET about $1980/month. I choose to be paid on a 12 month basis.
Now it is true, with my science degree, I can go make much more $$ than I’m making now. But I would be working all year round.
I think you can do the math on this one.
I went to college for 7 years. And it is irritating that a PE teacher can make the same, or more than I do, yet they are not held accountable for any test scores.
This is not fair to me.
Plus prep work for a lab class involves much more time & skill than does prep work for an elementary PE class.
Sorry-but it does.
There are schools here in ND that need science & math teachers so bad, they offer bonus pay for them.
Collective bargaining blows that kind of thing out of the water.
And the NEA has done NOTHING to help kids.
All they’ve done is lower the bar & dumb things down so badly that kids can graduate HS with a 3rd grade reading level, or not even be able to read at all!
So don’t tell em teachers don’t make enough or how the union betters education, bcs they do not.
They keep corrupt a-holes in a job, & while they do on occasion help someone unfairly accused, they are not helping kids by doing this.
All of this info, ernesto, comes from an NEA member, and a teacher: ME.
I know bcs I am living it.

Badger40 on March 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Badger40 on March 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

*standing ovation*

ladyingray on March 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

ladyingray on March 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

ernesto reminds me of the dude that comes to the branding & starts telling everyone how to work calves & cows.

Badger40 on March 23, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Badger, you are a reason why we need to rid the schools of teachers’ unions altogether. They are holding YOUR pay back. We should let supply and demand determine the wages. It is harder to get science teachers because there are more high paying opportunities out there and you have to do more prep work for the classroom, thus you should be paid more than a PE teacher.

I believe that the 2012 election is going to swing more red. The NEA can have all the electoral strategy they want, but they are not supported by the general public. They barely have a majority of support in a heavily unionized mentality state like WI. More and more local budgets are going to be squeezed by the legacy costs and thus, the current status quo won’t survive. If the republicans win the white house and the senate, as well as increase their majorities in the various state houses, I see public employee unions going by the way of the federal unions and they will lose all collective bargaining rights. Let them all go by the way of patco, the controllers union that imploded when Reagan called their bluff and fired all their asses. No one in government employment is irreplaceable. There are a lot of people who don’t have jobs that would step in for anyone striking.

I firmly believe in funding education 100% through vouchers in all states. Let the market pick the winners and losers in education. We need to end this monopoly of public schools, they are FAILING to get the job done.

Teachers like Badger40, the good ones, are stifled in this current system. We need to create an environment where good teachers like bader40 get rewarded for working hard, giving a damn and getting results for their efforts.

karenhasfreedom on March 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

The New Hampshire chapter of the NEA (NEA-NH) recently canceled their annual Reading Across America event – a day for schoolchildren to tour the State House and gather in the senate chambers for a group reading of Dr. Seuss books.

Their reason for depriving the kids of the field trip? We evil Republicans had changed the House Rules to allow state representatives to carry concealed weapons on the floor of the House, and had reversed a two-year-old ban on the public’s right to carry lawfully concealed in the State House.

We then rescheduled the event for the much larger house chambers and invited home schooled, and private and charter school students. Needless to say, our turnout was bigger than theirs had been.

Suffice to say, I won’t be getting NEA-NH’s endorsement in 2012.

Bruce MacMahon on March 23, 2011 at 4:42 PM

If you feel that someone tasked with educating your child is only worth $25k a year, so be it

ernesto on March 23, 2011 at 2:02 PM

In our school district in Ohio, for the 2010-2011 school year, teachers are paid on a salary scale from $37,659 – $86,409.

You really need to stop repeating lies when its so easy to look up the truth online.

dominigan on March 23, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Oh, and that’s not bad for only working 8.5 months a year. If they worked a full twelve months, they’d range from $54,672 – $125,454.

dominigan on March 23, 2011 at 4:57 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

You have an impaired grasp of economics 101. There is this thing called supply and demand. If the public schools are closed and only vouchers are available, and vouchers that actually have more $$ for the disabled kids to be fair, schools will spring up everywhere and all kids will be enrolled somewhere. The difference is parents will probably finally have to show up for their role in the education process by making sure their kid behaves in school and shows up on time. That might be a stretch for some. And if the parents can’t manage to get that part done, fine, put the kid in a foster home where better parenting skills are present. Why are we damning these inner city kids to a life of hell because we can’t seem to get them educated in the failing public schools and we are not protecting them from a very harmful home environment?

The money we save in the education alone by closing badly performing schools can pay for the extra costs of foster care. After one generation, we might be able to break this cycle of poverty that spending trillions of dollars since Johnson declared his war on poverty back in 1965 has failed to do.

The parochial schools spend far less per pupil and show results. The school vouchers could be set at somewhere between their cost per pupil and what the current public school system pays per pupil. Overall the taxpayers are freed of the legacy costs because the current system would freeze and the private sector will have to pay for the benefits, etc. The new schools that replace the public schools would have to be accredited, similarly to how colleges get accreditation. Supply and demand will pretty much drive teacher salary and benefits. And because you have to budget per school year, the legacy costs will be replaced with 401K plans, etc.

The solution is really simple. The schools will be more responsive to the local community because they won’t have layers of bureaucracy in between the parents and the actual school their kids attend. And because schools have to compete in the market place, they will have to be more responsive with a quality product.

karenhasfreedom on March 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

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!

Vanceone on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Sounds very similar to my county!

Be careful what you wish for…private schools charge for every little thing and either all of our school taxes will go up and/or a lot of your kids and grandchildren won’t qualify to even get in. Fly-by-night schools will spring up and like we’ve seen with Medicare and Medicaid fraud will abound. Could be like a Third World country where only the wealthy can afford to send their kids to school.

You’d have to make K-12 voluntary. Educational standards would be even worse as dropouts will occur higher and earlier.

NEA needs to quit whining about not having enough money because they dump so much supporting political candidates. Clearly, this has not worked that well for them.

And, yes, unions exist to support their members and their best interests-it’s called free enterprise. Doesn’t mean that the employees don’t care about their companies, professions, schools, whatever.

Those who say the difference is that the taxpayers ultimately foot the bill, then don’t you dare bid on a government contract or work for a concern that does, or get reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or the like…because then you’re either a leech, too, or just a plain old hypocrite.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

At least they are being honest by using the word “War.” And with the left it is going to be a “the end justifies the means” and “by any means necessary” war. I hope our side is ready for that, but with all the wimps in the GOP leadership, I have my doubts…

infidel4life on March 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

And, yes, unions exist to support their members and their best interests-it’s called free enterprise. Doesn’t mean that the employees don’t care about their companies, professions, schools, whatever.

It is not free enterprise when it is a government monopoly supplying the service. It is not free enterprise when it is mandatory that an employee be forced to join a government employee union. By definition, anytime we have the words GOVERNMENT involved in supplying a good or service, we are not in a free enterprise environment.

Again, economics 101.

karenhasfreedom on March 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

What we need is for someone to wage a well funded public outreach campaign to explain to the American people how public unions are nothing more than a giant political patronage scam designed to benefit the Democrat party, at the expense of taxpayers and their children. It should include mass mailings, TV commercials, billboards, speech events, etc.

ardenenoch on March 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Badger40 on March 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

*standing ovation*

ladyingray on March 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I’m with you.

Thanks, Badger40 for your very insightful and illuminating post.

hillbillyjim on March 23, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Gov Walker was on Hannity’s radio show today. They have a website “we” can contribute to IOT helf the 8 Republican Senators in their recall defenses…

Khun Joe on March 23, 2011 at 6:47 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.”

improvement of the profession -> you’ve had years to do this and you’ve resisted every attempt to do so …
student success -> your own former counsel divulged that this is a bunch of b.s. and their test scores reflect your complete lack of interest …
and social justice -> not part of your job description, you jackholes …

ya2daup on March 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

ya2daup on March 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Yep, ‘social justice’ is a new term the progs use, which really means socialism.

slickwillie2001 on March 23, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Badger40 on March 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

*standing ovation*

ladyingray on March 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I’m with you.

Thanks, Badger40 for your very insightful and illuminating post.

hillbillyjim on March 23, 2011 at 5:33 PM

And let’s not forget monkeytoe and karenhasfreedom.

This is a great piece, and the comment stream is gorgeous.

warbaby on March 23, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Badger40: can we (metaphorically) brand Ernesto?

I’m jusy saying…

Oh, VOUCHERS! Let’s even the playing field for the poor, minority students that are locked into substandard “public” education… I have been for vouchers for years, and they will be good for the KIDS…

Khun Joe on March 23, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Those who say the difference is that the taxpayers ultimately foot the bill, then don’t you dare bid on a government contract or work for a concern that does, or get reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or the like…because then you’re either a leech, too, or just a plain old hypocrite.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 23, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Nonsense on stilts. Companies do business with gov’t as a consumer just like any other consumer. We have no choice for Medicare – the gov’t set it up such that you can’t really get other primary insurance after 65.

As to calling unions “free enterprise” – sure, in the private sector, not the gov’t sector. they may “care” about their company, or schools or whatever but they don’t “do” anything about it. Pretending otherwise is a lie.

And, private schools cost less per pupil than public schools to operate and have better results. so that whole “they charge for every little thing” is also incorrect in the sense that you are trying to claim that they cost more than your precious public schools.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I love that whole argument about cherry picking too – we have to keep the poor kids locked in public schools b/c if we allow competiton, all the good students will go to good schools and get a good education. How terrible that would be. god forbid we allow the good students to leave the failed public schools.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Teachers deserve more, not less, for what they’ve been tasked to do.

Idiotic statements like that make my blood boil. Who the hell do teacher think they are? Why do they think they deserve “more” for what they have been tasked to do as opposed to what the rest of us in the community are tasked to do in our jobs.

Teacher act as if they hold some sacred position. Bull. When the community is suffering economically, teachers should suffer right along with everybody else. And there is absolutely not a single piece of statistical evidence that links teacher pay with quality of education.

I don’t ever want to hear how teachers “deserve” more than others in their community. That is total bunk.

crosspatch on March 23, 2011 at 10:54 PM

*sigh* apparently I have an intermittent s key.

crosspatch on March 23, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Nonsense on stilts. Companies do business with gov’t as a consumer just like any other consumer. We have no choice for Medicare – the gov’t set it up such that you can’t really get other primary insurance after 65.

As to calling unions “free enterprise” – sure, in the private sector, not the gov’t sector. they may “care” about their company, or schools or whatever but they don’t “do” anything about it. Pretending otherwise is a lie.

And, private schools cost less per pupil than public schools to operate and have better results. so that whole “they charge for every little thing” is also incorrect in the sense that you are trying to claim that they cost more than your precious public schools.

Monkeytoe on March 23, 2011 at 8:49 PM

So, private companies (which are organized private entities) can get money from the government/taxpayer in exchange for services…and that’s OK…but when organized private citizens who are employees dare to do so that’s not. What kind of argument is that? That smells of hypocrisy.

Those over 65 and Medicare-no, that’s because people pi$$ away their money during their working years and then are stuck when they no longer can work. We have to pick up the tab. How’s that not leeching? A lot of “conservatives” out there are always quick to jump on guberment freebies while hypocritically jumping on the others that do.

I taught in a private school…unless you have, spare me your perceptions in that area, or at least listen from experience. Look around online at fee schedules of various private schools and tell me they’re a better deal than public schools. They’re companies…and ones that have no real oversight. They can window dress their “product” just like any competitive company can in order to make themselves look better than they really are.

Some private schools are awesome and others suck…just as in public schools.

The National Report Card comparisons of test results have shown that there is little to no statistical difference in achievement test results between private and public school students. In fact, many of these students were educated in both at one time or another. Also, if parents were as motivated and involved as the ones who homeschool or send their kids to private schools, then maybe a lot of these struggling public schools would be a lot better.

You also have to look at what’s on the other side of the desk…some of these kids are thugs with juvenile records, are on drugs/alcohol, have messed up families, parents in jail and so on. I’m all for the European model of basically making them apply to get into high school based on academics and discipline, and if they aren’t up to par, they don’t get in and waste education resources. Make no mistake, though-we as a society will still have to deal with them and they will still cost us in the long run.

On one hand you have the Libtards and the (Federal) government trying to take over public education thus the constant reports from the LSM about how American education lags behind those of foreign countries (an unfair comparison). Then on the other there are the ultra-conservatives, Creationists and generally grumpy old people who have no kids in school anymore and always thought they were more brilliant than their teachers anyway. And, yes, the pro-Democrat national union leadership thrown into the mix just adds to the mess.

Pretty simple really…teach the kids the best you can, and if they choose not to learn, they fail. What is more American than making future adult citizens responsible for their own choices rather than Liberal coddling or Ultra-Conservatives excusing their laziness in order to make political attacks against unions and pubic schools?

These “precious public schools” were the bright idea of a well-known Commie, union thug-Benjamin Franklin.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 23, 2011 at 11:32 PM

It is not free enterprise when it is a government monopoly supplying the service. It is not free enterprise when it is mandatory that an employee be forced to join a government employee union. By definition, anytime we have the words GOVERNMENT involved in supplying a good or service, we are not in a free enterprise environment.

Again, economics 101.

karenhasfreedom on March 23, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Yeah, but public highways are a government monopoly as well. I’ve heard talk of putting transponders on all vehicles and charging automatic tolls on all roads. No, I don’t think the unions came up with that one.

Economics 101 started to become Socialism 101 ages ago. My faith in Capitalism is starting to wane. Too many working within Capitalism have sucked it dry-credit defaults, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, lobbying and a thousand other tricks that make so that if we could forgive all debts tomorrow and start all over again, we’d be in the same mess five years from now…the tricks and loopholes are too well known, there is simply too much historical precedent to do it the way it used to be done, briefly in our history, and improved the lot of our forebears and thus ourselves. Unions were a positive part of that process, but many have become as corrupt as any human endeavor (form of government, political party, religion, company) is bound to become over time.

No one should have to join a union if they don’t want to. But, I’m 99% sure that Obama is a Socialist Corporatist along the lines of Italian Fascism and that union membership in the future will be mandatory and state-operated.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 24, 2011 at 12:04 AM

there should be no mistake about it – NEA sees them as a threat to its very existence.

“We are at war”

The outcome of NEA’s war is still very much in doubt, but that battle has already been decided.

Yep. War to the knife. Somebody’s got to say it.

There can be no truce. Unless the organization is completely destroyed, their funds confiscated and distributed to the poor, their leadership in prison, their very headquarters building imploded into rubble, bulldozed, and replaced with a hot dog stand, they will just lick their wounds and rebuild their corrupt organization and strike again when they have think they have the advantage.

We’re talking about an organization that is not only openly subversive, but proud of it. An organization that has completely internalized Antonio Gramsci’s Notes. An organization that has a stranglehold on our children’s minds.

And that’s only the start. Every state education association and each school union in every state, they all have to be destroyed, too.

Legislation to destroy public employee unions’ “collective bargaining” privilege is only the first step. Cutting off their funding via employer deduction and making membership not only voluntary, but with enough impediments to make membership in a union more trouble than it’s worth, is going to be next.

And finally, outright banning of public employee unions. To prevent the hardcore cadre from rebuilding, unions have to be utterly discredited first.

georgej on March 24, 2011 at 3:16 AM

Pretty simple really…teach the kids the best you can, and if they choose not to learn, they fail. What is more American than making future adult citizens responsible for their own choices

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 23, 2011 at 11:32 PM

And that is why NCLB is a total abject failure bcs it takes accountability away from the child & parents & puts it solely on the backs of the teachers.
I believe the individual STATE has the obligation to make sure it gets its citizens educated, but in the manner THEY choose. The feds have no business doing any of this.
And yes that will result in some people getting a bad, mediocre, etc education. And some of these people may fail in college.
So? That means everybody will then know what states the idiots come from & those who wish for a better education will not live there. It’s really already like this. Here in my county in ND we have 2 schools.
The county next to us has 1 school. All K-12.
By making all of these onerous rules & ridiculous hoops to jumps through for this & that funding, we have forced so many of the rural one room school houses to close.
With the technology available today, we can have them.
Who is to say that a community cannot hire someone they feel is competent to teach their kids this subject or that?
Let the state decide those things.
Some states may be Nazis & some may be more relaxed.
So what?
And get rid of the huge cadre of unimportant managers.
Our school has ~215 or so kids K-12.
We’ve got 68 kids at the HS! In this school we have TWO principals & a Suptd who works as the 1/2 time VoAg teacher.
This 2 principals is not necessary!
Ugh. The whole wasting of public $$ really disgusts me.
As the science teacher, I do love technology, but I don’t think our school needs to purchase a bunch of fancy crap to teach these things.
I spend my district’s $$ like it’s my own.
Others do not. It disgusts me.
My Smartboard is cool, but really? I didn’t ask for it. And not every classroom in the building needs one.
I want my chalkboard back, too. I hate white boards & stupid markers.
Ugh.

Badger40 on March 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Haven’t read the article. Who are they at war with?

The tax payer?
Parents who want to decide what’s best for their children?
Anyone who doesn’t agree to their every demand?
People who believe that in education children come first, parents second, teachers third, and unions last?

Rod on March 24, 2011 at 8:56 AM

So, private companies (which are organized private entities) can get money from the government/taxpayer in exchange for services…and that’s OK…but when organized private citizens who are employees dare to do so that’s not. What kind of argument is that? That smells of hypocrisy

Well, I’ll try to explain it to you, but because you are a teacher, I doubt you are bright enough to understand.

You see, in private industry, there are actual people who care about the bottom line and workforce productivity and therefore actually bargain for management with management’s interests in mind.

In the public sector, the union is a) paying for managment to keep its jobs through massive campaign financing (and, in closed shop states, using money from “members” who don’t want their money spent that way). [an aside, how is closed shop, mandatory dues deduction people joining together? Nobody has a choice. They are forced both to join the union and to pay for it - so that argument is b.s.].

Thus, in the public sector, there is nobody looking out for the owners (i.e., taxpayers) interest. Moreover, in most situations where you don’t have a politician involved in teh actual bargaining, the managment team usually consists of people who are union sympathizers and who also have no accountability for the bad deals they make. Having been involved in many such negotiations, I can tell you that gov’t employees generally know their bosses (the politicians) don’t want to make the unions mad (see campaign funding issue) and also know that they will get in not trouble for giving away the store to the unions.

Thus, there is again nobody protecting taxpayers interests in public employment. So, that argument is complete nonsense.

Monkeytoe on March 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Your alleged experience in private schools is nonsense also. Liberals are always so damn dishonest.

As to SS – if money is taken from me by force with the promise that it will be invested and given back to me at a later date – it is not leeching by taking it.

And as to Medicare and Medicaid – I’ll agree with your hypocrisy point when I see liberals start giving over 1/2 of their income to the gov’t voluntarily rather than always calling for my taxes to be raised. when Robert Redford and George Soros give all of their money to the gov’t volunteerily, I’ll see your point. Until then, what is your argument? That people use things taht are given to them even if they philosophically disagree with those things? YOu know what the answer to that is? Stop those programs. I’m all for ending meidcaid and medicare. I’ll do away with every gov’t prorgam that gives anything away. Will you? No? then you have no point.

I know you are a teacher so likely cannot understand this, but simply calling “hypocrisy” is not an argument. And, Hypocrisy does not mean what you think it does (imagine that). It means having one belief while espousing another. I can have a belief and act inconsistent with that belief, that is not hypocrisy because the belief I espouse I still actually believe.

For instance, I don’t believe in gov’t giveaways such as that stupid “cash for clunkers” program or the new home buyer tax credit. But, I’ll take the money. I pay taxes and if the idiots are going to give money away, I’ll take some. But I am still against those programs and hope they never get passed in the first instance or never get enacted again. That does not undermine the actual arguments against the programs or the silly socialist economic theory behind such programs.

Put another way (I know I am taxing you by trying to explain logic to you), if I had murded someone, and now I argue that murder is wrong, it does not make murder right simply b/c I acted inconsistent and/or am a “hypocrit”.

The left is always throwing that word around like it has some magic power and wins arguments. It means nothing. Because someone espousing family values gets caught cheating on his wife does not make the idea of family values wrong. It just means that the person was not perfect and sinned.

So, come back to me when you have some kind of actual argument for why getting rid of teachers unions would be so terrible and/or why teachers should be paid more than the market provides.

Monkeytoe on March 24, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Well, I’ll try to explain it to you, but because you are a teacher, I doubt you are bright enough to understand.

You see, in private industry, there are actual people who care about the bottom line and workforce productivity and therefore actually bargain for management with management’s interests in mind.

In the public sector, the union is a) paying for managment to keep its jobs through massive campaign financing (and, in closed shop states, using money from “members” who don’t want their money spent that way). [an aside, how is closed shop, mandatory dues deduction people joining together? Nobody has a choice. They are forced both to join the union and to pay for it - so that argument is b.s.].

Thus, in the public sector, there is nobody looking out for the owners (i.e., taxpayers) interest. Moreover, in most situations where you don’t have a politician involved in teh actual bargaining, the managment team usually consists of people who are union sympathizers and who also have no accountability for the bad deals they make. Having been involved in many such negotiations, I can tell you that gov’t employees generally know their bosses (the politicians) don’t want to make the unions mad (see campaign funding issue) and also know that they will get in not trouble for giving away the store to the unions.

Thus, there is again nobody protecting taxpayers interests in public employment. So, that argument is complete nonsense.

Monkeytoe on March 24, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Nothing like an insult to begin a rational argument.

Also, I’m not a Liberal but am a Conservative, TEA Party Republican (what that shows to me is that you actually aren’t that good of a reader if you can call me a Liberal after reading what I had written, or if you simply ignore whatever is inconvenient to your argument). That doesn’t mean that I’m going to be your ideological clone. Surely if everyone thought just like you our country would be just spiffy!

As for the private school thing, again, just because you prefer a certain reality doesn’t make it so. I’m also a biologist and a former Army officer in the Field Artillery…call me a liar on those, too if you wish.

Reading a lot of what you posted above I agree with. I never said the loss of teachers unions would be “tragic”. I don’t believe we teachers should get paid more than comparable (whatever that is) positions in the private sector and have never stated that.

Our society didn’t get this way solely due to the efforts of the Socialists but with the help of a lot of folks like you, Sir/Ma’am. As long as everything was comfy and profitable for you, you didn’t care what these Marxists were doing. Now it’s probably too late, pal. Go ahead and complain some more and maybe they’ll go away.

“Paying into” something does not give one the right to extract more out of it than they put in. Obviously if this were not the case, SS would not be in trouble. Be that as it may, I do find it hypocritical that so-called Conservatives will stand in the government bread lines when they make poor choices or their schemes of accumulating wealth don’t pan out and say it’s OK. Or to say that it’s OK for you to contract work with the government for $ but it’s not OK for someone else to contract work with the government because he’s not in the same profession you are or is in (I know God Forbid!) a UNION! The horror of it all!

It just means that the person was not perfect and sinned.

Oh, so you’re one of the “not perfect, just forgiven” types.

Figures.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 24, 2011 at 4:41 PM

The Left has about 668 days left to destroy Capitalism and America as we know it…..

Gird your Loins Conservatives it has only just begun.

It’s 1968 on Steroids!!

PappyD61 on March 24, 2011 at 11:11 PM

How ironic. The NEA is at WAR with U.S. to increase its membership, while U.S. is experiencing a “kinetic movement”.

The irony, War means killing or inflicting severe economic hardships on the population of another country, or group of people. While “kinetic movement” is a questionable term or at least an oxymoron. In either case damage is inflicted on persons or property, and damaged property is not of any practicable value to the cause of the NEA, nor are deceased people of any value (except if you can count on them as a valid vote in and election).

While, kinetic movement sounds more of what the NEA’s doing, creating an active movement to allow them to continue their unionizing in the hope of gaining power over you and your children to get them to follow lock step in their understanding of how the world operates. Now, watch out! If NEA believes the world revolves around the NEA our children will have problems with mathematics, physics, astronomy, other sciences, the environment and their relationships with others. Because we revolve around the Sun.

MSGTAS on March 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM

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