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July 6, 2011

National Education Association Backs Obama ... As For Good Education, Not So Much

Topics: Political News and commentaries

The NEA is a powerful teachers union that, to no one's surprise, just announced that it would be backing Obama in the 2012 election. The Democrats and the NEA have gone hand in hand for years. However, as ALG's Nathan Mehrens explains, this doesn't bode well for education (hat tip - NetRight Daily):

NEA, Obama, and the Democrats, all in bed together to continue throwing ever more money at poorly performing teachers and schools ... little wonder America is spending more money on education while producing worse outcomes:

We have tried spending more money and putting more teachers in classrooms for more than a generation, with no observable improvements to anything except the schools' bottom lines. Why? Because of the lack of competition in the K-12 education system. Schooling in the United States is still based largely on residency; students remain tied to the neighborhood school regardless of how bad its performance may be. Federal spending on education (which amounted to 8.3 percent of total public education spending in 2007) is funneled to students through the institutions to which they are tied, largely regardless of student (or teacher) performance. With no need to convince students and parents to stay, schools in most districts lack the incentive to serve student needs or differentiate their product. To make matters worse, this lack of competition continues at the school level, where teacher hiring and firing decisions are stubbornly divorced from student performance, tied instead to funding levels and tenure.
There is a solution to the problem, but it's not going to come via continued collusion between teachers unions and the Democrats:
If reform is to be defined by something other than the amount of money flushed down the toilet, it is time to reverse the flow of power from the top (administrators, school districts, teachers unions, governments) to the bottom (students, their parents, and taxpayers who want their money spent wisely). A first step in that direction is to change our teacher labor market practices in terms of both hiring and firing. On the hiring end, there are too many restrictions on who can become a teacher. On the firing end, we need to restore the relationship between job retention and job performance. Lisa Snell, director of education at the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit organization that publishes this magazine and does public policy research), points out in an email one recent example of how bad a school's labor practices can be: "L.A. Unified School District laid off hundreds of its top teachers and replaced them with lower-performing teachers with seniority.
Read more.

Simply put, all that influence that teachers unions' dollars are buying from the Democrats, ultimately comes from the taxpayers and at the expense of our children's education.

Obama and the Teachers
Investigation into APS cheating finds unethical behavior across every level

Posted by Richard at July 6, 2011 11:34 AM

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