Category Archives: National Education Association

A member of the “Educational Reform” Cabal busted pushing anti-union legislation

Ever since the Educational “Reformer” gang (Gates, Duncan, Rhee, Obama) started getting serious airtime in the national discussions about education, it’s been clear that their agenda requires defanging teachers’ unions. All along, the “Reformers” have insisted that they’re not anti-union, but that unions protect “bad teachers” by making them difficult to fire; unions create expenses (salaries and pensions) that are untenable; unions fight against changes in teaching load and class size in spite of clear violations of “efficiency” as a godterm, etc.

Those of us (myself included) who have described the cabal as “anti-union” have, at times, been criticized for overstating the position. It usually goes something like this: “If the unions would just be less, well, unionish, then we could work out reasonable solutions to these problems.”

Well, as if I needed clearer evidence of the gang’s anti-union proclivities, this morning’s Daily Kos reposts and explicates some evidence that Michelle Rhee’s organization, the Orwellian-named Students First, actively participated in crafting the Michigan legislation that all but eliminates collective bargaining rights for teachers. Students First provided agenda points for the legislation, and staff members vetted language in the bills, all while telling the press that they had nothing to do with the bills.

While this news comes as no surprise to those of us who have been following this (ahem) movement over the last couple of years, it may seem only tangentially related to APSCUF or higher education. And that’s probably true, technically. However, it adds another piece to the threat posed by the US Education Delivery Institute (which I wrote about last week and am preparing another post on currently), which is part and parcel of the same movement. Don’t underestimate, even for a moment, the extent to which these folks are not on our side.

I’m not going to claim that they hate students, or that they’re sadists, or any of the easy overstatements. Their specific motives for busting the chops of unions are beside the point, at least at the moment.

What’s on point is that we have to counter the message, at every turn, that unions support bad teaching, that we protect colleagues at the expense of students, that we oppose evaluation systems that determine quality, and so on. With the kind of money the Gates Foundation is throwing at them, with the kind of bully pulpit Arne Duncan has as Secretary of Education, we’re facing a serious challenge. And knowing that members of the cabal are participating directly in anti-union activities ups the stakes for us that much more.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Collective Bargaining, deliverology, K-12 Education, lobbying, Michelle Rhee, National Education Association, Public education, US Education Delivery Institute

NEA voices support for restoring PASSHE budget

From the State APSCUF blog, this resolution of support from the NEA Council on Higher Education:

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s students contribute thousands of dollars a year to the state and local economies, and approximately 70 percent of graduates of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities remain in the state. They provide the workforce that sustains the state economy.

WHEREAS, On March 8, 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett introduced his first state budget proposal, which would cut state funding to Pennsylvania’s community colleges, public colleges and universities, and state-related universities by more than 50%. When combined with the reduction in federal funding, community colleges will see a 10% decrease in funding, the State System of Higher Education’s budget will be reduced by 54%, and state-related universities’ budgets will be decreased 51%. Additionally, the governor’s budget proposal included a 1.9% cut to Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants.

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania already has some of the highest tuition rates for public colleges and universities of any state in the country, while state funding rates for higher education are among the lowest in the country. If the final state budget includes the governor’s proposed cuts to higher education, students across Pennsylvania can expect:

• Major increases in tuition and fees

• Larger class sizes

• Fewer course offerings

• Greater student loan debt

• Fewer loan and grant opportunities

• Fewer institutions due to the closing of campuses

WHEREAS, large tuition increases and increasing loan debts will make it even more difficult for these students to continue to afford college and could discourage interested students from applying in the future. Larger class sizes and program cuts will make it difficult for students to obtain a quality education in a timely manner.

Therefore, we resolve to support the students of Pennsylvania and call on members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives to reject these cuts to higher education. We urge them to continue to fund at prior levels community colleges, state colleges and universities, and the state-related universities in order to continue to provide a quality education for all of Pennsylvania’s students.

Thanks, NEA, for the support and for the smart articulation of the issues.



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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, National Education Association, Tom Corbett