Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shanker likes peer review

4) This Week's Message from Beyond. Shanker likes peer review.

5) Nano-News. This week's infinitesimal information:

* Aunt Polly's Revenge – The executive committee of the Mansfield School Employees Association (Ohio) impeached union president Tom Sawyer in a 39-2 vote last week.

* Bad News for Kentucky Boyfriends - It's illegal in the state to encourage a teenage girl to disobey her parents.

* Royal Flush - A Las Vegas union isn't all that crazy about card check.

* Appomattox Now – Southwestern College's attempt to secede from the California Teachers Association is crushed.

* Shocker – There are provisions in Ohio teacher contracts that contradict state law.

United Federation of Non-Teachers

3) United Federation of Non-Teachers. The United Federation of Teachers in New York City celebrated surpassing the 200,000 member mark, with the induction of 28,000 home day care workers in a recent union authorization election. This makes UFT the largest union local in the nation.

The breakdown of the 201,486 members is interesting, though. Others have already noted the effect on policy of UFT's 54,000 retired members, but it's more eye-opening to see that only 118,000 (58.6%) are "in-service educators."

With enrollment falling steadily in New York City, it's conceivable we could see a future where working K-12 teachers are a minority in their own organization.

Lid Tight on AFT Disaffiliation Battle in Colorado

2) Lid Tight on AFT Disaffiliation Battle in Colorado. Last Tuesday, EIA broke a story on Intercepts about a disaffiliation attempt in Colorado that resembled a previous battle in Puerto Rico. As I wrote:

"Accounts vary, as they say in the news biz, but what isn't in dispute is that the executive council of the Colorado Federation of Public Employees (CFPE) - 1,000 members strong at last check - voted on October 20 to disaffiliate from AFT. CFPE President Jo Romero notified AFT the same day.

"An October 24 letter from AFT President Ed McElroy in response claimed the council's vote was without legal effect, since it violated CFPE's constitutional requirement to place affiliations to a rank-and-file vote, requiring a two-thirds majority.

"Additionally, McElroy accused CFPE of being at least four months behind in dues payments. He placed AFT Colorado President Dave Sanger in charge of CFPE's relations with the AFL-CIO, central labor councils, and state government.

"For its part, AFT Colorado stated, 'Most troubling are indications that an agent of an outside union may have been involved improperly in orchestrating this failed hijack attempt. The facts of the matter are being explored and will be shared as they come to light.'

"CFPE is standing fast. 'It is disappointing to learn that the AFT may be contacting CFPE members to make assertions about CFPE, its officers and council members that are simply inaccurate,' the council wrote to members."

Later in the week, CFPE issued a further denial that its decision was prompted by a relationship with any other union. "Be aware that CFPE and its members are not part of any coalition, merger or joint effort with SEIU-CAPE, AFSCME or AFT," it said.

The backdrop is an executive order signed by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter to allow "partnerships" in which state employee organizations would negotiate with the government. It looks, acts, and quacks like collective bargaining, but all parties deny it is collective bargaining.

Two Million New Teachers Needed in the Next 10 Years! Or Is It the Last 10 Years?

Communiqué for the Week of November 12, 2007:
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1) Two Million New Teachers Needed in the Next 10 Years! Or Is It the Last 10 Years? NEA Executive Director John Wilson visited South Dakota last week, prompting a local newspaper story with the lede, "The head of the National Education Association says the nation is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, with as many as two million new teachers needed within the next decade."

Wilson, naturally, believes it is time for Americans to "step up to the plate and invest in education." But it's hard to take Wilson seriously if he really believes the situation is unprecedented, since NEA has been making the "two million new teachers in 10 years" claim for, well, almost 10 years.

Exhibit A is this September 20, 1998 op-ed from NEA President Bob Chase, who foresees a calamity as "a tidal wave of teacher retirements creates a need for two million new teachers over the next decade."

As you might expect, what constitutes a "new teacher" does not lend itself so neatly to such sound-bites, since a teacher who transfers from District A to District B is a "new teacher" for District B. Nevertheless, researchers recognize the importance of properly defining terms, and reports such as this one, excerpted in Education Statistics Quarterly, examine all the angles.

I deliberately chose it because it was written by William J. Hussar in 1999, and it is titled "Predicting the Need for Newly Hired Teachers in the United States to 2008-09." Accounting for a number of variables, Hussar concluded that America would need between 1.7 million and 2.7 million new teachers by 2008-09. He expected about 75,000 teachers per year to retire.

Now if the National Center for Education Statistics will provide me with a substantial grant, I'll be more than happy to compare Hussar's 1999 predictions of newly hired teachers with the actual numbers. However, I don't think it's necessary. Because one of two things must have happened: a) the projections were off, and so Wilson's for the next 10 years are probably also off; or b) they were correct, and somehow the United States managed to hire the required number of teachers. Indeed, it appears we did better than that, since by NEA's own accounting we have 500,000 more K-12 teachers than we had 10 years ago.

Stop Taxpayer Bailout, another S&L fiasco

I came across this website and found some of the points quite interesting.


Is this a problem in Utah?

Around the Country?

What should be done?