Union Spending Still Eclipses Reformers'

Union Spending Still Eclipses Reformers'

The unions -- and often the media -- like to focus on how much reformers are spending on campaigns and elections, and how the money is coming from foundations and billionaires, and how the money sometimes comes from or goes to Republicans.

Indeed, there's a lot more school reform advocacy and campaign work going on than there used to be, and in a perfect world money and politics wouldn't be such a big part of what goes on in schools.

But what often gets left out of the campaign spending story is that unions still usually outspend the reformers by a ton, and have been doing so for decades, and that unions sometimes even endorse and contribute to Republican candidates.

A recent Slate article notes that the NEA's $6.4M in 2012 spending is more than twice as much as StudentsFirst nationwide.

A New York Daily News article about the charter school fight going on there notes that the unions have their own campaign fund, lobbyists, and "grassroots" efforts.

Closer to home, Politico notes that IFT and IEA and other public employee unions have "jumped headlong into the governor's race in Illinois - by endorsing a candidate in the Republican primary" and spending $3 million to praise him.

"Senator Dillard has been a tireless advocate for public schools and our communities and a strong voice for teachers and retirees," IFT president Dan Montgomery said.

Politics isn't for the squeamish, and we're all rightly disgusted at some of the deals and donations that are involved. But let's not pretend that only one side of the debate is practicing these dark arts.

 

 

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    I have commented on this for years. The same way how it was so horrible when Target made campaign contributions, yet if people don't like who Target supports, they can boycott Target, yet it is OK for AFSCME to make contributions, but they face ZERO public backlash.

  • So the only reform group supporting candidates is Students First. DFER, Stand for Children, and those groups don't make campaign contributions? Bruce Rauner, Penny Pritzker, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and the Walton family don't make campaign contributions? That makes sense. I don't believe in the free spending era that Citizens United had ushered in, but if money is free speech then you had better pony up the money or you have no free speech. By the way, it's not union dues that go to support the candidates. That's illegal. It's only PAC money that is allowed to be spend in politics. That's why CTU made such a big push a few months back for teachers to voluntary give more to the PAC.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    EXACTLY, D299R! You hit the nail completely on the head.

    Alexander, your post is completely ridiculous. Did you even read the Slate article you included as a link? If so, you buried the lead, which was way down in the Motives Vary section of the article: According to an ed policy specialist from U of WI, "... changing the way public education functions also opens windows for private corporations and individuals to make a profit... 'meaning the sources of profit are immense."

    But even if you didn't make it that far, the articles states right in the first few paragraphs that reform oriented candidates in the Los Angeles school board election attracted $4 million in spending while labor groups spent $2 million.

    Finally, you point out that IFT and IEA gave money to a Republican gubernatorial candidate in IL but didn't mention that StudentsFirst, the NRA, the MI Chamber of Commerce and MI Right to Life backed the same candidate for state representative. Sadly for them, she lost.

    But, hey, feel free to keep on presenting the "fair and balanced" view of ed reform in Chicago. If it works for Fox News, why wouldn't it work for you?

  • Any chance of the union donating more instructional time to high need students? I would think that would be more meaningful than teachers writing checks to Kirk Dillard.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Any chance that Donn will donate more instructional time to high need students. It will be more meaningful than posting in comment section about others donating their time.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Do recall that CTU opposed longer day and recess and anything else for students. What makes you think that they would donate anything that would benefit the students? They are still complaining even though they got nice COLA increases each year in the latest contract. I don't know anyone else getting any kind of raise these days. Donn, don't get your hopes up for union doing anything for the students. Unless they are trying to sucker the press and parents with the "for the students" lie. Karen Lewis is jiggling with laughter about the stupidity of parents and press believing her lies. Jabba, jabba, jabba.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    The CTU never opposed recess, though they did ask how it would be implemented in schools where teachers never got their preps. And your anti-Karen Lewis fat "jokes" are pretty weak and cowardly.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    The CTU swept recess under the rug for generations of children. One of the many dirtly little secrets of the CTU. Only when it was illuminated was the idea entertained and there was a fight from the CTU.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    We had recess at my school before the 2012 contract because we had space, high scores (lost instructional time) and no one was shooting!

    Not all schools are in the same situation!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Ughhh! I am so tired of hearing how the teachers are to blame for no recess for so many years. If you would do some research, you would see how the school day was changed from the traditional 8:30 to 3:15 with the blessing of the Board. It was brought about for several reasons, some of the main ones being most elementary schools did not have lunchrooms or space to accommodate the large number of students who could no longer go "home" for the 45 minute lunch because of the increase of both parents working. Another issue was the "energy crisis" - schools could use less energy if they closed earlier. Along with both of these issues, the safety of students walking to and from school four times a day became an issue when a young child was shot on his way to school. Having worked at one of the last schools in the city to switch over to the "teacher lunch" at the end of the day, we were given no choice to make that switch. Ask any teacher, we know very well that kids need recess every day. Having kids sit in an auditorium watching a movie or sitting in their classrooms is not my idea of recess. Please remember, not every school has the room or equipment to provide a real recess for the students. In some schools, recess is a complete travesty.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't believe you. Teachers hate children. CTU stands for child abuse. Children must suffer.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    of course you must be right! yes, that is why teachers work long hours in addition to class time to prep and plan for our classes. makes perfect sense to me; we hate children. you are such a moron.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Look at the CTU contract. Teachers voted for this . . . not the Board. It was the teachers choice. Read the damn contract.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I have read the contract, and all of the contracts since 1984. Yes, teachers voted on the closed campus provision as part of many contracts, however, it was the Board of Ed who pushed that provision for the reasons mentioned plus one really big reason - Federal money for the school lunch program. The more kids that got fed at school with reduced or free lunch, the more money CPS could collect from the Federal government. If students could no longer go home for lunch, you had a much better chance of parents filling out lunch applications, and a better chance of increasing the flow of money.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    And teachers rejected the effort to change it in 2011 because???? Com'n now.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    You're wrong. 95% plus of CPS elementary schools could not have recess not because of space but because teachers voted to have their lunch at the end of the day, leaving no time in the middle of the day for recess. In the early Spring 2011, CPS asked elementary school principals to conduct votes at schools as per the contract and to return all elementary schools to so-called "open campus" schedule. That would have restored a 45-minute lunch to the middle of the day (rather than at the end of the day) and restored 20 minutes of instruction.

    Jesse Sharkey and CTU actively campaigned against it in our schools in the Spring of 2011 (pre-Emmanuel) and only a few schools took CPS up on it then. It finally happened in all schools only after SB7 and Emmanuel's insistence on a longer school day. The 45-minute lunch in the middle of the day, now provides students in all schools 20-25 minutes of recess.

    It's a staffing challenge for schools as CTU insists that teachers cannot supervise during recess but schools are making it work -- with bubblegum and rubber bands perhaps, but they're getting it done.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    High schools were different.Each kid had PE so there was some exercise,health and drivers ed. excluded.My school was open campus
    which meant a kid could leave the building for lunch.all that changed
    one bright sunny day in 1984 when Ben Wilson got shot during his lunch period on the way to the school store which was right next to our
    parking lot.I know most of the grammar school teachers i know have
    stories of students being pinned down during shoot outs,While
    student teaching i saw a 200 person riot erupt in the school yard.
    So please get real about why recess was cancelled.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Plus the time lost after recess getting young students settled down and back on task. And the crummy play area at many elementary schools.

    But I'm still personally horrified by no recess. That activity was one of the few activities I enjoyed as a young student.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I can say with 100% certainty that no teacher at my CPS school ever voted to have or not have recess in the middle of the day in 2011. It simply did not happen. I can't explain why, but we didn't. It was never even discussed.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    Not surprised. It was swept under the rung forcefuly in 2011 by the CTU. CPS clearly laid out the path to recess. Asked every single school to take a valid vote in spring of 2011 per the contract. CPS even provided a guide to bringing recess back. I think the book was called bringing back recess or something like that. Terry Mazzaney issued it. The CTU strong armed many schools into ignoring the issue and intentionally keeping parents in the dark because they wanted to have it as a negotiation chip for their expiring contract. Even those schools where parents tried to get a vote were slapped down really hard by the principals and teachers in the school. Ugly! Why not screw the kids over yet another year for the benefit of the CTU.

  • In reply to Donn:

    You mean on top of the 7 hour day? You aren't happy with 7 hours? You want an even longer day? Do you not want to see your children ever? Are they struggling that much in school that you are that worried? At some point, high need students's families need to understand that the school has done more than their share of work and its time to shell out money for private tutoring, or, god forbid, actually parent.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Hey Don, you do realize that the CTU isn't a member of IEA, right?

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