Thursday, February 25, 2010

 

The NEA Can Kiss My ...

Driving to work and back, I've been hearing National Education Association commercial supporting Obama's health care plan. The commercial portrays all the children needing health care and the need to "set aside politics" to pass health care reform. The topper is the final sentence, "Great public schools are a basic right for every student." (Excuse me while I try to stop laughing/crying.)

How sincere are the NEA's calls to "set aside politic?" Not much, I'm sure, unless you're a Republican and then you should act as if you were a Democrat. It's the one-way bipartisanship everyone loves. 93% of NEA political donations to a political party go to the Democrats. 82.8% go to Democratic candidates. Looking at the list of candidates for Federal office receiving donations from the NEA, you'll find 337 Democrats and 37 Republicans. Hardly a non-partisan organization.

Maybe it's because the NEA really just want a pass on taxes on the Cadillac health insurance plan NEA members enjoy at taxpayer expense, at least many of the other unions asking for special treatment denied other citizens aren't paid by us.

The NEA is working in conjunction with other unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), to discredit and fight against the Tea Party movement by using a "seemingly grassroots organization that's mounted an online campaign."
The most recent backers of the Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority West, which helped fund the APPC and thus the Tea Party site, form a veritable Who's Who of the country's top labor unions: the Service Employees International Union, Change to Win, the Communications Workers of America, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and others besides.

But by far the largest donations have come from a collection of unionized government workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) -- which in 2008 alone donated $5.8 million to Patriot Majority and another $4.1 million to Patriot Majority Midwest.
Why is it that public employees, teachers and otherwise, feel need to fight against the Tea Party movement? Could it be that they want to protect their cozy, easy, well paying jobs where they're protected by civil service rules from the consequences of poor performance or committing malfeasance. Why is it that public employees have such a problem with the citizens they are supposed to serve exercising their Constitutional rights? Anyone who has interacted with the petty tyrants who to frequently work in government knows the answer to these questions.

The real laugher for me is the "Great public schools are a basic right for every student" bit. Despite having decades of time and plenty of money, our educational system performs poorly. The NEA's reaction is almost always to call for more money despite the fact that money isn't the answer.
"It's not necessarily so that states with higher spending have higher test scores," said Tom Loveless, an education policy expert at the Brookings Institution think tank.

He said Washington, D.C., has among the highest spending in the country but its students have among the lowest scores on standardized tests, while some states like Montana with relatively low spending have fairly high performance on tests.
Generally, teachers and school administrators were mediocre college students who are too busy arresting kids for texting, charging 10 year old with felonies because she brought a knife to school to cut her sandwich, accusing 6 year old boys of sexual harassment for kissing a girl on the cheek (see kiss number 8), handcuffing 12 year old girls and hauling them to the police station for doodling on their desks, or using laptops to spy on you and your family in your own home to actually teach or work on making our schools worthy of our investment.

If the NEA really cared about better schools they'd whole heartily support school choice programs where parents could choose the school they want their children to attend, private or public. This would force schools to perform or die. Ineffective, unresponsive schools would whither on the vine while schools that produce well educated students, treat them and their parents well and are responsive to their needs would thrive. Instead we have teachers to lazy to work a few extra hours with second rate schools being the "better" schools.

Comments:
I'll see your NEA and raise you the NRA. Any number of alphabet soup advocacy groups run into problems when they move away from their purpose and into self-perpetuation and fundraising.

Hell, we wouldn't even have the "school choice" debate if national teachers' unions spent more time focused on their local systems than shilling for national policy matters in tangential fields.

One reason we have so many civic neuroses in this country is because each of these groups must constantly manufacture crises or threats to keep people from losing interest. They have large advertising budgets to do this.

Though I'd posit that unions have failed in the most spectacular fashion, nationally, that is only because megachurches and religious organizations hire far better marketers and focus groups.
 
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