Tag: Edujobs


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Teachers Union Walk-Around Money


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Let’s just call the recently-passed Edujobs bill what it really is: A congressional Democrat plan to keep control of the federal legislative branch by subsidizing the National Education Association and…

Doling out the election cash.

Let’s just call the recently-passed Edujobs bill what it really is: A congressional Democrat plan to keep control of the federal legislative branch by subsidizing the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — and absolutely useless and unnecessary to boot. It really is that simple. As I pointed out in The American Spectator earlier this year, congressional Democrats — fearful of losing seats (and possibly, control) in both houses — were looking for a way to placate the NEA and AFT (whose $71 million in donations during the 2007-2008 election cycle makes them the single-biggest forces in campaign finance) and keep their money and bodies in the game.

As it has been pointed out over the past few months, there is almost no need for these subsidies. For one thing, the original estimates have turned out to be illusory as school districts such as New York City have figured out ways to stave off layoffs, either by cutting jobs in other areas of education (including school staffers represented by the Service Employees International Union and other unions), holding off scheduled teacher pay raises or cutting other areas of school district operations. For all the caterwauling by teachers unions, their allies and congressional leaders such as House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave “Walking Around Money” Obey, the subsidies were absolutely unnecessary. More importantly, given that the layoffs would only affect at best five percent of the 6.2 million people working in education — small potatoes compared to the wrenching layoffs within the private sector — school districts would have done just fine without the money.

Though the bill does benefit the NEA and the AFT, it’s difficult to discern how it will really help congressional Democrats. For one, the waves of dissatisfaction among voters have more to do with how the party and President Barack Obama have handled such issues as federal economic stimulus subsidies (that has done little), continued mismanagement of budget deficits (a continuation of Bush II-era mismanagement) and the passage of a healthcare reform bill no one outside of pharmaceutical giants, unions and “progressives” want. If congressional Democrats want to keep power (which they may still do based on recent polling in states such as Connecticut), the solution lies in pursuing a more fiscally-prudent set of budget policies, cutting federal spending, reducing taxes and taking on the long-term strains on economic growth — including deficits in Social Security and more-aggressive education reform.

Congressional Democrats also didn’t need to give any money to the NEA and AFT because the two don’t have any other options in the general election cycle. Although the two unions give plenty to Republicans at the state and local levels, they hardly give any money to Republicans in Congress. This means that the NEA and AFT don’t have many allies on the national level (even though both the unions and conservative and suburban elements within the GOP share a heated disdain for much of the Bush/Obama school reform agenda). Given the lack of allies and the fact that the NEA and AFT have other issues on which they share common ground with Democrats (the moribund card check legislation and healthcare reform), the two unions have little choice but to back congressional Democrats at all times.

What Edujobs represents is lost opportunity to further advance school reform. Teacher quality reforms such aren’t advanced by the subsidies because  school districts aren’t required to end Reverse Seniority (“last hired-first fired) layoffs and other seniority-based privileges in exchange for the money. There is no provision requiring districts and states to address their long-term fiscal problems, namely at least $600 billion in pension deficits and unfunded retired teacher health liabilities. There is no Race to the Top-like component that would reward states and districts for innovating how they handle human capital management issues. Education doesn’t begin to understand that the sector shouldn’t be treated different than any other during periods of economic dislocation.  Not one thing of value for children or for improving the abysmal quality of American public education.

Essentially, Edujobs has all the hallmarks of Tammany Hall dealmaking devoid of strategic cleverness or plain common sense.

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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Abandon Edujobs to Build Parent Power


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I examine the debate between congressional Democrats, President Barack Obama and centrist Democrat school reformers over the edujobs bill. The proposed $10 billion school…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I examine the debate between congressional Democrats, President Barack Obama and centrist Democrat school reformers over the edujobs bill. The proposed $10 billion school bailout bill will do little to advance school reform or stem (ever-dwindling) teacher and school employee bailout numbers. Instead of another bailout, President Obama, outgoing House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey and his fellow congressional Democrats should focus on building parent power and making families true decision-makers in education.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. Also, add the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone.

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