Saturday, January 07, 2006

Maybe light will improve the NEA

This week I've seen The National Education Association (NEA) talked about a lot on various blogs. The government has some new rules that force the NEA to disclose, in detail, where the money goes. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that the NEA gives most of its political funds, over $65 million, to liberal causes. This was a fun line: "...last year the NEA gave $45,000 to the Economic Policy Institute, which regularly issues reports that claim education is underfunded and teachers are underpaid." Say what we want to hear, and we'll give you money.

In an The Education Wonks post the point is made that union members have no direct influence into the national leadership. Ed Wonks also points to a number of postings by Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency. Here Mike reports that a third of the NEA's $341 million dollar budget in the last fiscal year was spent on salaries for the 600 employees of the NEA. Here Mike has a sample of where the NEA made donations. And here Mike dissects the NEA's response to the WSJ article.

For many years there have been complaints about the NEA. There hasn't been much improvement, but maybe now that the members know exactly where the money is going, there will be increased focus on change. It won't come quickly, it may not even come, but with the full disclosure there is a better chance of cleaning house.

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