Thursday, March 25, 2004


When I ran for school board in District 66 several years ago, union members who were district employees flagrantly opposed me and I lost. It hurt a lot. There was bad-mouthing and back-biting, mainly because I wanted to hold the line on taxes and get a handle on spending, and I also said bluntly that the kind of reading instruction we were using in the early grades -- whole language -- was not only ‘way too expensive and labor-intensive, but was causing the spike in reading disabilities that our district was experiencing. The union didn’t like me saying that one bit, even though it was true.

A group of union members, including several who had been my children’s teachers and whose classrooms I had volunteered many hours to support and help with, met voters at the door of the nominating caucus handing out flyers with a ‘’slate’’ of four candidates, all pro-union and pro-spending, of course. And not including me.

‘’My tax dollars at work, eh?’’ I said to them. Their political activity was in direct opposition to someone whose taxes helped pay their salaries -- a major no-no in American government and politics. They looked ashamed. There were whispers that they’d stuffed the ballot boxes, too. It was so ugly. I came in fifth out of nine candidates and from the way union members treated me, I made up my mind that we had to move away. It was that bad.

That’s the way it goes when a union’s involved: people get whipped up into polarization, and kind of take leave of their senses in a fit of self-absorption. You can see it happening in local, state and national education arenas. It’s just another reason unions have GOT to go, if we hope to keep public education afloat in this country.

Anyway, I wouldn’t describe what I felt as ‘’terror,’’ but it was bad. So I could understand the meaning behind the hyperbole recently when U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a bunch of ‘’terrorists.’’ Other people around the country have gone through much, much worse experiences at union hands than I did.

Comes now a series of articles on http://www.cnsnews.com which reveals that former Nebraskan Randy Moody has become chief lobbyist for the NEA. I knew him, or at least of him, when I was with The World-Herald in Omaha and he was in the Washington bureau. I can guarantee he’s no terrorist. He’s a nice guy.

His views and activities might be more closely labeled ‘’schizo’’ than ‘’terrorist,’’ anyway. These articles report that he’s a Goldwater Republican, yet he works for the NEA, which made 95 percent of its political contributions from 1996-2000 to Democratic candidates whose platforms were to increase taxes and government spending and control, and are on record in favor of all kinds of radical left-wing stuff. That’s a weird combo for Mr. Moody.

Moody, a former lobbyist for the Nebraska State Education Association, also has been on staff for many of our state’s GOP leading politicians. He has done media work for the Republicans, most of whom are pro-life, even though Moody was a national board member of the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood from 1995-2002, and is now national co-chairman for that organization’s Republicans for Choice. That’s another weird one.

The NEA may need to claim mental illness such as schizophrenia if a tax case goes the way I think it will: they are being investigated for failure to pay taxes on NEA dues that were used for pro-Democratic, partisan political activity. It’s a big no-no that puts millions of dollars of teachers’ dues in jeopardy in the way of fines and so forth. The union may have trouble claiming it’s ‘’for the kids’’ if this happens.

Since I saw that kind of thing go on first-hand in my own one-and-only attempt at influencing the political process, I have a feeling they’re going to get nailed on it. And it’s too bad.

I wish Randy Moody well. But I wish he’d go back and re-read his Goldwater. The Arizona politician was a ‘’terrorist’’ in the good sense . . . he had a holy terror of government control and overspending, and he would never have been caught dead in a job stumping for the NEA.

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