Tuesday, April 05, 2005


A national teachers’ union watchdog has reported that the Nebraska State Education Association is seeking one of the biggest dues increases in the country, with an added $12 sought from its 20,000-some members, plus a raise for its Political Action Committee fund from $8 to $10 per educator.

The Education Intelligence Agency,
www.eiaonline.com, charts union activities coast to coast and mentions Nebraska in its weekly news story posted Monday. Only three state unions are seeking bigger dues hikes.

The NSEA will take up the matter at its annual confab in Lincoln April 15-16, with some perplexing resolutions on the agenda:

-- Deploring torture (and they don’t mean having to listen to Spanish-American war facts on a beautiful spring afternoon)

-- Deploring sexual assault (don’t we have laws that deplore it already?)

-- Deploring the use of student test data as a criterion in evaluating teacher effectiveness (the NSEA calls that “inappropriate” – how silly of parents and taxpayers to want to know if a teacher’s kids did better or worse than the year before)

-- Deploring any facts and evidence in science classrooms about life’s origins and development, such as those from the relatively new discipline of Intelligent Design, EXCEPT those that favor the theory of evolution (hear no ID-vil, see no ID-vil, speak no ID-vil)

-- Urging the acceptance of the International Criminal Court (what, so that Judge Judy can get a wider audience?)

-- Providing prescription drug benefits, especially for “domestic partners” of school employees

-- Demanding not more, but less, federal interference in schools by calling for more, not less, federal funding

-- Demanding more attention to “age-appropriate placements” for struggling students as being practically a birthright, while completely ignoring the “age-appropriate placement” needs of bright students who may be three or four grade levels ahead of the norm, but denied a chance to have challenging curriculum because that would make the other kids feel bad

-- Most perplexing of all, deploring direct instruction techniques for teaching reading in the early grades – the one type of reading instruction that has been shown to work by countless studies – because it somehow interferes with teacher freedom. Meanwhile, there’s nothing that can set a teacher free more quickly than having students who can read!

Come and read the resolutions for yourself on
www.nsea.org See how different they are from what parents and taxpayers want our educators to be concentrating on: improving kids’ reading ability, sentence diagramming, better computation skills, maintaining order in the classroom, and so forth.

You know, I really, really wouldn’t be putting all that time and effort into all those topics if I were the NSEA, anyway. That’s because a whole new accountability index has just burst onto the national scene, and it doesn’t make Nebraska schools look very good at all.

It’s from Standard & Poor’s:

We’ll look in to its findings tomorrow. But here’s a teaser:

Nebraska ranks below ALL six of our surrounding states in the fourth-grade reading proficiency scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Also, our kids rank SECOND TO LAST among those states in fourth-grade math, as well as both eighth-grade reading and math.

Ohhhhhhh, boy. Now, THAT’S deplorable.

There are some other figures in this index that are pretty depressing, as well.

I don’t mean to harp on the NSEA, but come on . . . torture? Sexual assault? International criminal court?

What about reading, writing and arithmetic?

What was that Nero was “studying” while Rome burned? Oh, yeah: the violin. Maybe a pro-fiddling measure is on the NSEA resolution list, too. You know, right by the demands for cappuccino machines in every teacher’s lounge, and more paid time off for inservices on the lingering psychic effects of the tsunami on students when it’s windy outside. . . .

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