Analysis: Tracking the NEA’s and AFT’s $43 Million in Donations to PACs, Advocacy Organizations, Nonprofits — and the State Engagement Fund? (The 74)

The 74 Million is an independent news blog dedicated to the 74 million primary and secondary students in the United States.  A lot of their coverage tends to be skewed towards rhetoric around “school choice,” and so I’m a little bit skeptical.  But there also seems to be a strong racial justice core to their reporting.  The most interesting and useful coverage I’ve seen have been Union Reports like this one, which shed light on the connections between teachers unions (NEA, AFT) and shady groups like Democratic Super- PACs and the so-called “State Engagement Fund” described below.

I guess, what is so disappointing about characterizations of America’s largest Teachers Unions in purely vehicles for cashflow (not that this isn’t an accurate portrayal, because I think it is) but it ignores the humanity of the teachers these organizations purport to represent.  I don’t think the problem is with unions as such, but certainly the way the AFT and NEA seem to be operating at the highest levels is gross and tends to feed into the stories we have been told for generations about unions’ corruption, mob connections, racism, sexism and so on.  Do teachers need to remake their unions and union culture before they can remake their schools, communities and society?

Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears most Wednesdays; see the full archive. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are known as labor unions, advocates for teachers and public school employees, and political powerhouses. But they also are grantmaking institutions. During the 2018-19 school year, the two national teachers unions directly donated $43.1 million […]

Source: Analysis: Tracking the NEA’s and AFT’s $43 Million in Donations to PACs, Advocacy Organizations, Nonprofits — and the State Engagement Fund?

Idaho Education Overhaul Is Subject of Referendum

Idaho Education Overhaul Is Subject of Referendum – NYTimes.com.

I started watching that movie Waiting for Superman last night, which is a well-produced documentary distributed by a subsidiary of Paramount.  The documentary places the blame for “what’s wrong with American public schools” squarely on the structure of Tenure programs for public school teachers.  Unfortunately a lot of the movie directly equates the tenure system (which is obviously broken) with Teacher Unionism, which is NOT at the root of the problem.  There are actually a lot more problems with the angle from which Superman attacks public schools and public school teachers, but I won’t go into those here.  Suffice it to say that the filmmaker admits to being able to send his child to private schools, and also wholeheartedly embraces No Child Left Behind policies introduced by Bush and bolstered by Obama.

Hopefully the people of Idaho will recognize that while the Tenure system as it exists ought to get a second look, but that Unions and Unionized teachers are a valuable part of a strong education system.