Comedian Drew Carey has been hosting videos at Reason.tv for a little while now, and his most recent piece focuses on Locke High School in Los Angeles, a failing school that became a battleground for the teachers union and the education reformers at Green Dot Public Schools. It’s quite the story — check it out at Reason.tv.
Archive for February, 2008
Michigan watchdog Education Action Group (EAG) is calling attention to the lobbying activities of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). Not only was the teachers union the single largest special interest — measured by its lobbying dollars — in the state capital of Lansing, it also seems to spend its lobbying energies on legislation that doesn’t have much to do with actual students, as an analysis by EAG blogger Kyle Olson suggests.
With such a close primary election race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the party’s primary structure itself is receiving a lot of attention. In addition to its proportional assignment of delegates (which is making for a close race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama), the Democratic Party’s nomination system differs from the Republicans’ in its use of “superdelegates,” individuals who, by virtue of holding high elected office or of party selection, get to vote however they please in the nomination of a presidential candidate in August at the Democrats’ convention in Denver.
Blogger Nick De Leeuw at Right Michigan has noticed something funny about Michigan’s 26 superdelegates (other than the fact that their ability to get seated at the convention is in question due to previous party rulings). A huge chunk of them — seven — are union leaders. That’s more than a quarter of the raw total. And it’s even more — close to half — if you take out the ones who are there by virtue of elected office (the Governor, plus Michigan’s two Democratic Senators and six Democratic Congressmen).
In its seemingly endless expansion, Internet behemoth Google is looking to build a hotel and conference center near its headquarters in Silicon Valley. In its never-ending search for more dues money, the union UNITE HERE is trying to get in on the ground floor. What makes the union’s conduct distasteful is that it’s trying to pressure Google into a “labor peace agreement,” which appears as if it would prevent the company from telling employees its side of the story during the unionization drive.
If Google does make such an agreement, however, its employees could still find out the truth — just by using their employer’s flagship service, they could Google “UNITE HERE” and the undemocratic “card-check” process that the union is always pushing.
Today the National Education Association issued a press release that displayed remarkable candor about the union’s institutional tilt to the left, urging Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to take the union’s electoral clout more seriously while expressing no interest in appealing to Republicans. According to the teachers union’s release, “[w]ith both [Democratic] candidates scrambling to gather enough delegates to win the nomination, NEA is uniquely poised to play a major role in either campaign.”
The NEA’s latest Democrats-only summons is just the latest example of a lengthy trend: between 1990 and 2006, more than 93 percent of donations made by National Education Association political action committees and individual officers went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s not to say that anywhere close to 93 percent of NEA members are Democrats, however; the NEA’s own “Status of the American Public School Teacher 2000-2001” [PDF] indicates that only 45 percent of public school teachers are Democrats.