The NEA: There They Go, Again!

Peter Byrnes of the Liberty Files blogsite notes another clear example of the hypocrisy behind the NEA teachers’ union political positions, this time on Social Security reform:

In any case, I heard on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” today that the NEA has stepped outside education to oppose any privatization of the Social Security system. It would seem that the NEA has no dog in this fight. Not so.
Here are the NEA positions on privatization, among other issues. Follow the links. It’s all there. And here is an explanation of the inner workings of the NEA. Read the whole thing. It’s easy to follow.
The NEA opposes privatization of accounts, but the funny thing is that they have members in various states who opt-out of social security to enjoy the benefits of private retirement accounts. So, on its face, the NEA wants to deny the rest of us the very same thing that its members are permitted. hypocritical enough to be sure, but the NEA is not just about politics. Like any liberal parochial organization, it is about itself to the exclusion of its members.
The President’s plan will most likely involve mandatory participation in the social security system, which means that employers, not the state, will likely be participating in making a defined contribution to their employees’ retirement. That means that where the teachers have opted out of Social Security, they are back in, and thus there is less salary from which the NEA can collect member dues. But more to the point, the NEA’s ability to bargain for the defined benefit plans for teachers’ retirements–a happy source of revenue–would be gone.
The NEA seems to get that. Check this from their site:

Mandatory coverage of public employees would increase the tax burden on public-sector employers. Ultimately, these increased tax obligations would lead to difficult choices, including reducing the number of new hires, limiting employee wage increases, reducing cost-of-living increases for retirees,
and reducing other benefits such as health care.

Ignoring the granny-scaring for a moment, the bottom line is that the NEA is concerned that there will be fewer members for them, or in any case, less salary for them to prey upon.
The NEA is in this because member benefits affect their bottom line. Whereas requiring teachers to be more knowledgeable than their students on the matters which they teach them was a problem for the NEA, so too will be reforming a retirement system which currently benefits them. But this union needs to be seen for what it is–an organization that exists for itself, not for the advancement of students, nor even for the future financial security of teachers.

There they go again, focusing once more on their own self-interest which has no connection to delivering excellence in education.
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.

Consider this recent story from right here in Rhode Island:

Having helped some 200 inner-city students do better in a special charter school than in other public schools, Rick Landau has announced that he will step down as chief executive officer of Providence’s Textron Chamber of Commerce Academy.
The reason? Teachers’-union leaders are furious at him for trying to protect his school’s role as an engine of innovation.
In struggling to keep together a team of excellent teachers, Mr. Landau took aim at the sacred cow of “bumping” — a practice in which public-school teachers with seniority hold on to their jobs during a layoff through the dismissal of teachers with less seniority, even at other schools, regardless of how well they perform.
Mr. Landau asked his Textron Academy teachers to explore setting up a separate bargaining unit after it seemed that six of them — a third of the teaching staff — might be laid off so that teachers from other Providence schools could be shipped in. The teachers’-union leaders made it clear that they would allow no such innovation…
Mr. Landau had argued, correctly, that his school could not fulfill its mission unless it had the best teachers possible — regardless of their status in the public-school bureaucracy…under Mr. Landau’s leadership, Textron Academy established standards, raised test scores, and improved literacy.
Now all this may be at risk…

America faces an ongoing crisis in the non-performance of our public education system. You can read here, here, here, here, and here for other examples where the actions of teachers’ union go against the best interests of students, taxpayers and the long-term competitive strength of our country.
There will continue to be thoroughly mediocre performance in our public education system as long as the teachers’ unions retain their ability to dictate both ridiculous management rights which block excellence and outrageous compensation terms which bleed dry the financial resources of our communities.

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