Friday, August 27, 2004

National Education Association Nonsense

Like many people employed in the Education Industry, the EdWonk is forced to belong to a Union. The theory is that a Union protects teachers from oftentimes capricious management and represents the needs and desires of those that belong a.k.a. the ones that pay the dues, which the Education Wonk assures his readers are substantial.

To all you teacher wannabees out there, let's understand something. A Union does not represent New Teachers. What a union does is protect the interests of those that are entrenched in its hierarchy. The typical union local is dominated by teachers that are.... let us say.... approaching (or have already passed) the "sell by" date. To maintain this power, they will do everything and anything to prevent any meaningful reform of the status quo. Union Officials will often lie, cheat, and steal to get and maintain their Union Positions. This often includes the "fixing" of elections in order to keep anyone out that may even breathe the word "reform."

What Union Officers get are expense accounts, travel to such hotbeds of educational reform as Lake Tahoe, Waikiki, Las Vegas, Anchorage, Alaska (in summer) and Washington D.C. (when Congress is adjourned) And most importantly, their status as Union Officers will often protect them from any attempts by the Administrative Apparatus (the subject of a future commentary) to control or otherwise get them to perform as those that do not enjoy protections afforded by a "Union Officer" label.

The vast majority of Union Officers do little or no actual Union work.

That is why the EdWonk found it particularly amusing when he received a booklet (we dare not call it a magazine.) from the National Education Association. The pamphlet described the Union's latest convention, held in Washington back in July. Some 9000 "delegates" attended at Dues-payers expense. (We wonder how the escort services did during that week.) Among the many resolutions that were passed (under the laughingly subtitled moniker "Democracy in Action") was amendment H-3, which is called "The Right To Vote."

This amendment declared that, "The National Education Association believes that the principle of one-person-one-vote must apply at all levels of government, including the President of the United States." The amendment also states that, "The Association recognizes the right to vote as a constitutional right guaranteed to all eligible citizens."

Your Education Wonk thinks that this is especially hilarious because in all his many years service in the Education Industry he has never been allowed to even cast a vote for the President of the National Education Association. In fact, there has never been an election for any national-level officer of the N.E.A.

A great many of the positions that are adopted by the N.E.A. are from the agenda of the Ultra-Liberal Left. And to "cap it all" the N.E.A. endorsed the candidacy of Democratic Nominee John Kerry. Of course nobody bothered to ask the membership what it thought of all the social tinkering or candidate endorsements. Such techniques as computer polling or even telephone balloting are probably beyond the mental capabilities of most union leadership. Or maybe the correct answer is that a poll or vote would have been an exercise in democracy. And democracy is not allowed in the teachers' unions.

Perhaps National Education Association President Reg Weaver needs to be Educated and practice what his organization preaches to the rest of us.