NEA Dues Increase to Rescue Common Core
The three-dollar per year dues increase approved by delegates at the Atlanta National Education Association (NEA) convention in July of 2013 went directly to a “special fund” called “Great Public Schools.” NEA leadership allocated the extra three dollars per member to certain union affiliates for reasons and in amounts they determined. Delegates added the caveat that union leaders must inform them as to how this money was spent.
Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency writes that “the ultimate authority to release the funds rested in the hands of two men”: NEA president Dennis Van Roekel and NEA executive director John Stocks. It turns out that of the thirteen Great Public Schools grants awarded, nine will be used to “ease the implementation of Common Core Standards.” (EIAonline.com, 1-27-14)
The union is experiencing a love/hate relationship with Common Core. On the one hand, union leadership resists breaking with the Democrat establishment to which they contribute heavily and from which they receive heartily. But many teachers are displeased with the top-down Common Core standards, which were thrust upon them without their input. The union has been forced to speak out against Common Core. There was rank-and-file animosity toward Arne Duncan and Common Core at the NEA Convention; it is doubtful that convention delegates would have passed the dues increase had they known it would eventually be used to shore up Common Core. Even the NEA president has had to admit that Common Core is “botched.” (See Education Reporter March 2014)
It is unfortunate that the NEA union teachers’ dues increase dedicated to the Great Public Schools fund actually contributed to the mediocre public school education that Common Core is offering to students.