The incoherent politics of the IEA and NEA.

Scott Michael Greene being sought by Des Moines and Urbandale Police Departments investigators for two Iowa police officers shot dead in separate "ambush-style" killings

Eight hours after the ambush murder of two Des Moines police officers, officials announced the arrest of Scott Michael Greene who had previously been arrested for provocations related to the Confederate battle flag.

I wrote on Tuesday about the IEA’s IPACE endorsement of Illinois’ GOP Senate Leader Christine Radogno.

My brother writes on the topic today.

I really don’t understand what the IEA can be thinking, even though I have taken part in IPACE endorsement meetings for years.

I have frequently left them scratching my head.

What possible rationale could the state union leadership give for endorsing Rauner’s loudest voice in the Illinois legislature?

I know they weight incumbency and electability heavily in their endorsement calculations. Yet they leave plenty of legislative seats go without an endorsement. Yet Radogno?

Radogno?

What turned out to be my last major effort to influence the NEA was my introduction of an anti-confederate flag resolution at the 2015 NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando.

After hours of debate, the resolution passed overwhelmingly.

The NEA leadership had one year to act on the New Business Item – a year that delegates also voted to target institutional racism.

When the year was over I received word that my resolution against the flying of the Confederate battle flag in public spaces had resulted in a single solitary action by the NEA leadership. Somebody in NEA headquarters had drafted a piece of model legislation that state and local affiliates could take to their elected representatives.

I have not heard if any affiliates have acted on it.

If they had, I think I would have heard something.

Then there is this:

On Wednesday morning, two Des Moines police officers were murdered. Eight hours later Scott Michael Greene was arrested as a suspect.

In a recent YouTube video, a man who appears to be Greene is escorted by officers from a high school football game after he held up a confederate flag while sitting near several black audience members.

In debating the nature of the Confederate flag, we said the flag was more than symbolic.

It is a battle flag for white supremacy.

In a year that the organization claimed it was taking on institutional racism, could the NEA have done more than draft and mail out copies of model legislation?

What do you think?

NEA’s Friend of Education Lamar Alexander lauds Donald Trump on education.

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The worst pick since Dalibor Bagaric.

The NEA’s choice of Republican Lamar Alexander for this year’s Friend of Education award may have been the oddest choice since the Chicago Bulls picked Dalibor Bagaric.

Alexander is at the freak show now underway in Cleveland. He gave an interview to Ed Week.

Alexander and Politics K-12 have talked before about Donald Trump and education policy. And Alexander’s said he wasn’t really sure where Trump’s heart was on the issue. Does Alexander have a better sense now?

In a word, yes, he said he does. Alexander told me he had spoken with Trump about the issue, including when he met with GOP senators a few weeks ago.

Alexander told the presumptive GOP nominee that, “my hope is that if you’re elected you will enforce the new education law the way we wrote it, which is to transfer responsibility for accountability out of Washington back to the states. And [Trump] agreed with that. He said he was very much for local control. So I’m convinced he will.”

What’s more, Alexander said Trump “understands the explosion of regulations across the board in Washington, D.C., is a massive issue, bigger he said than taxes. And I agree with him on that. The jungle of red tape that smothers a lot of college administrators, that makes it harder to fill out a student aid form, that makes it difficult to repay your student loan, all of that is a deregulation, de-centralization of authority that I think he would instinctively favor, so I’m encouraged by that.”

It appears that NEA’s Friend of Education is not exactly a Republican member of the #NeverTrump movement.

Not reporting from the NEA RA. Costing things out.

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Today is the final day of the NEA Representative Assembly.

I wonder if Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuk, who reports on it, bothered to hang in all the way this year. Sawchuk is like a L.A. Dodger fan. He tends to arrive late and leave early.

Listen. I get it. There are 125 New Business Items this year. It will be a late night.

A few years ago my old friend Bob Haisman and I sponsored a New Business Item at the Illinois Education Association’s state Representative Assembly. We asked that the organization establish an online data base that would allow member to member contact for lobbying and political action work. Since the leadership doesn’t like member to member contact, they wanted the proposal to die.

An IEA staffer walked up to me and said, “We are going to kill it with a cost attachment.” And that’s what they did. They announced from the podium that our proposal would cost $25,000 dollars. And it was voted down.

Crazy cost attachments are a common method the leadership uses to kill proposals they don’t like.

At last year’s RA in Orlando they said that my Confederate flag New Business Item would cost fifty thousand dollars to implement.

Sorry. Not just fifty thousand.

Fifty thousand, five hundred.

That cost was sucked out of somebody’s thumb but was intended to short circuit debate. That time it didn’t work and we debated a long time, nobody brought up the cost attachment and NBI 11 ultimately passed.

Just moments prior to this year’s RA I received word as to how my Confederate flag NBI was implemented. Some model legislation was distributed to state affiliates and just this June 19th they published an article online.

There was nothing in the report about how the $50K was spent. Certainly drafting some model legislation and posting something online didn’t cost fifty grand.

Jeez. What are the billable hours for the lawyers who might have been asked to draft the model legislation? – which to my knowledge has been introduced exactly nowhere.

I’m assuming that given the mostly non-implementation of the Confederate flag NBI there is a couple of bucks left over.

Wonder where it is?

I also noticed this year that the delegates voted to pass an NBI giving $10,000 for this week’s conference and march that is being organized by SOS.

I also noticed that the cost attachment was $10,000.

I’m glad the NBI passed.

The lesson is clear:

Ask for a check.

Not reporting from the NEA RA. Clinton endorsed.

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District of Columbia- JULY 5, 2016 – Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the representative assembly with Lily Eskelsen GarcÌa, President of the National Education Association at the 154th Annual Meeting, 95th Representative Assembly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Tuesday July 5, 2016. (SCOTT ISKOWITZ/RA TODAY)

Following her speech to the 8,000 delegates at the National Education Association Representative Assembly, Hillary Clinton received the NEA endorsement for President.

No surprise there.

She received 84% of the delegate vote.

Some friends may have thought there was a larger Bernie contingent. And maybe at one time there was. But no longer. Except for a few boo-birds when Clinton swiftly mentioned charter schools in her speech, she was warmly received.

Her endorsement vote numbers are consistent with past Democrats running for President.

Libertarian teacher union basher Mike Antonucci reported:

The margin exceeds those President Obama received initially (79.8% in 2008) and for re-election (72% in 2011), but short of the margins achieved by John Kerry (86.5% in 2004), Al Gore (89.5% in 2000), and Bill Clinton (91.5% in 1996).

As usual Antonucci is right on the facts even if he wrong on his world view.

Facebook friend Kipp Dawson reacted to a previous blog post of mine:

Well written as always, Fred.

I add this:

An appeal to the wonderful supporters of, and fighters for, our children, our world, our planet:

Hillary Clinton is not, and will not be, our champion, or even our supporter, on education — or on any other major issue facing the people of the USA or the world.

No surprise.

Right now, in November, and after both November and January we need, and history calls on us to continue to build, the movement’s for justice, for our children, for our planet, which hold true promise for a world all people deserve.

Let us not give in to, or be derailed by, fights around the elections that could divide our people against one another.

People who vote for Clinton because they oppose Trump’s crude and open racism, xenophobia, etc., etc. are not an enemy of social justice. People who refuse to vote for Clinton because they just can’t stomach voting for more of the same problems we, and the victims of U.S. policies around the world, struggle with — these people also are not enemies of social justice.

Our real work continues.

Agreed.

I would just add this.

There are plenty of progressives running for down-ticket offices that have a better chance if Trump’s candidacy does well in bringing down the Republican Party in purple and swing states.

And if on the day after the November election Trump and his Party receive a good shellacking, I will have a smile on my face.

Then I will eat a hearty breakfast to gather my energy for the fights to come.

Not reporting from the NEA RA.

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State delegation meetings will take place this morning and tomorrow morning. Then the NEA Representative Assembly will begin at around 10AM tomorrow.

Hillary will speak on Tuesday,

Writing on her blog Diane Ravitch asks:

Will the NEA get a pledge from Hillary not to support non-union charters? Will Hillary agree to cut off federal funding of predatory for-profit charters? Will Lily get Hillary to speak out against misuse of testing? Will Hillary lay out a new vision for the federal role in education?

Those are good questions. It is what the NEA should have asked nine months ago before endorsing Clinton after promising not to rush an endorsement at last year’s RA.

They would have been good questions in 1999 when the NEA RA awarded Hillary Clinton their Friend of Education award.

That is the same award they are handing over this year to Tennessee Senator and education privateer, Lamar Alexander.

It doesn’t really matter what Hillary pledges to the RA delegates. She will say what she needs to say or say nothing at all.

I predict that the main thing the delegates will be discussing after Clinton’s July 5th speech is how long it took the 8,000 delegates to get through security to get into the hall.   I recall it took three hours for me to get in when VP Joe Biden addressed us.

Following the killings in Orlando, I expect there will be plenty of proposals that address LGBT issues. But I also expect that like the Board of Directors proposal at last year’s RA calling for a union-wide fight against institutional racism as the focus of the work for the coming year, it will  all lead to little in the way of action.

I apologize if this sounds cynical. I have nothing but respect for rank and file delegates who attend this seemingly endless convention and who engage in the debates over important education and social issues.

The murder of the innocent in Orlando deserves the attention of the NEA RA. They deserve real action as well. As did the deaths of the nine innocents in Charleston just prior to last year’s RA.

What they got were just words.

The dedication of delegates is not what is at issue. The problem is at the top.

Lamar Alexander, along with Senator Patty Murray, will receive this year’s Friend of Education award.

Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuk wondered if Alexander will show up to receive it.

Even Alexander must wonder if he deserves it.

NEA’s Friend of Education. Lamar Alexander: privatization, cronyism, and the big bucks.

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NEA’s Republican “friend of education”  Lamar Alexander and Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander will be awarded the National Education Association’s highest honor at this week’s Representative Assembly. Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray were the main Senate backers of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind. ESSA was hailed by NEA leadership as a major achievement. I don’t see it quite that way.

-By Peter Greene, Peter blogs at Curmudgucation. This is a post from December, 2015.

The rich are not like you and me. In fact, many of the rich get rich through avenues not remotely available to you or me. Would you like to see how it works?

Let’s take a look at Lamar Alexander.

These days Alexander is the reasonably amiable, semi-avuncular senator currently known for helping to whip up our newest version of the ESEA. But once upon a time, Alexander was an up-and-comer with White House dreams. That kind of career sparked some big-league attention, most notably captured in an article by Doug Ireland that ran in the April 17, 1995 issue of The Nation. “The Rich Rise of Lamar Alexander” is available online only through The Nation’s subscriber archives (though the bulk of the content is repeated here).

Ireland’s opening gives you an idea of where this was headed:

If repeated White House leaks suggesting that Bill Clinton views Lamar Alexander as his toughest potential Republican opponent next year are true, it may be because it takes on to know one. The two ex-governors are both masters of the Permanent Campaign.

Ireland suggests that as a lifelong political insider, Alexander “is even less encumbered by principles than the man whose job he covets.” Alexander is repeatedly characterized as a man whose political leanings are less stable than a sapling in a hurricane. He has often remade himself to suit the campaign he was running. He has made many friends. And Ireland gave him credit for excelling in one other area.

And in one respect he has clearly surpassed Clinton: Alexander has shamelessly used his political connections to make himself a wealthy man.

It would seem that Alexander has become a millionaire either through brilliant investments, incredible luck, or generous connections. Ireland reports that when Alexander was first elected governor of Tennessee, he was worth $151,000. When George Bush appointed him Secretary of Education, he was worth somewhere between $1.5 and $3 million. More recently he has remained among the wealthiest of senators, with a net worth as high as $28 million (2004). He took a huge dip in 2012, but in 2014 he was back up to $13 million.

What sorts of genius deals has he made? Well.

In 1981, Governor Alexander got in on a deal to buy the Knoxville Journal. He swapped his stock for some Gannett stock, and sold that stock for $620,000.

In 1987, he took time off from politics to go to Australia and write a book– Six Months Off. The Wall Street Journal gave him a $45K advance, and he wrote off $123K as a tax deduction (he also sold the movie rights). And he was on the payroll of Belmont College in Nashville, which had hired him to create a leadership institute.

But Alexnader’s greatest gains have come from privatization of two public sectors– education, and prisons.

Education and Big Bucks

Alexander scored big with an investment in Corporate Child Care, Incorporated in 1987. Alexander often liked to campaign as a co-founder of the company, but that co-founding didn’t seem to involve doing any work there. But in about five years, Alexander’s $5K turned into $800K. Ka-ching. A biography of Alexander’s wife Honey (she’ll be turning up again) calls the couple “co-founders” along with Bob Keeshan (yes, that Bob Keeshan). CCCI was launched with a $2 million investment from Massey Birch, a venture capital firm whose head, Jack Massey, we shall also meet again. Actually, we’ve already met him– that leadership institute he was setting up was for Belmont’s Massey School of Business, named after Jack Massey.

Ireland quotes a former CEO of the company saying that Alexander was instrumental as a money-raiser, but not so much daily hands on. CCCI appears at some point to have disappeared into Bright Horizons Family Solutions. 

Alexander also logged some time as “CEO” of the University of Tennessee, where by many accounts he was something of an absentee president. It paid a nice six figures, though at the same time he was making about the same money from various corporate board of director’s stipends. Ka-ching.

Alexander’s other big education venture was Whittle Communications. By 1995, Chris Whittle had already built and destroyed the proto-privatization empire in education. He had launched Edison, a pioneering for-profit education adventure, along with Channel One, a plan to put a television in every classroom thereby giving advertisers to every set of school student eyeballs. But in 1994 he was trying to explain why he wasn’t a huckster, and Business Week was writing his professional obituary. (That turned out to be premature– Whittle had a few more second acts in him).

In the eighties, Alexander worked as a consultant for Whittle and that earned him the right to buy some stock. Which he did. In Honey’s name. With a check for $10K that nobody cashed. Until after the company was sold and Whittle bought Honey’s stock back for $330K. Ka-ching.

But we’re not done yet. When Alexander was being confirmed as Secretary of Education, he promised to cut ties with Whittle, which he did. Then he sold his house in Knoxville to a top Whittle executive, who paid $977,500 for the house that Alexander had bought for $570,000 the year before. Ka-ching.

The Prison Biz

Alexander has gotten plenty of negative press for his ties to the for-profit prison business.

Around 1983, Corrections Corporation of America was founded by Tom Beasley, former Tennessee GOP chair and, according to Ireland, a guy who in college had rented an above-the-garage apartment from the Alexanders. Financing came by way of Jack Massey. Honey invested $8,900 in CCS in 1984. In 1985, Tennessee prisons were in a mess, and CCA had an idea. Tom Beasley declaredthat “the market is limitless” and proposed that CCA could “lock them up better, quicker, and for less.”

Governor Alexander pushed for CCA to take over the entire Tennessee prison system, a ballsy movein 1985. But there was a conflict-of-interest problem, so Honey traded her $8,900 share to Jack Massey for 10,000 shares in South Life Corporation, a life insurance company. When Honey cashed that out in 1989, she was paid $142,000. Ka-ching. As for privatizing Tennessee prisons, that was a massive fail– eventually the state had to take the prisons back– but CCA continued to try to spread its influence. But the privatized prison move started some commenters worrying about the issuesstill before us thirty years later– if profits become privatized and liabilities remain with the public, who gets screwed and who gets rich? And do you actually get the service you paid for?

CCA is still alive and kicking. Its history has been scrubbed of any reference to Alexander (Lamar or Honey), but on its board we find Charles Overby, a man who has his own intriguing history. On the CCA board since 2001, he also has a history as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and head of the Newseum. He has worked for the Gannett chain, and more than a few people see a serious conflictbetween a journalist’s devotion to the First Amendment and transparency versus the private prison industry’s hard work to keep their operations hidden.

Oh, and Overby has held down another job– special assistant for administration to Governor Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

So what have we learned? 

None of this is news. None of this is new. All of this is why some folks throw phrases at Alexander like “one of the biggest non-entities in the history of modern American politics” and write posts entitled “Why I hate Lamar Alexander Today.

This is the guy who helped bring us the New! Improved! ESEA. This is a guy who has made a career and a personal fortune out of privatizing public institution, and done it largely through his personal connections. And in all the reading I’ve done, I’ve to find someone accusing him of taking a hard stand on any issue as a matter of principle.

So if it seems as if the new education law is filled with opportunities for well-connected privatizers to get their hands on public education tax dollars– well, it’s not hard to see how Alexander might have been inclined to head in that direction. After all– what’s the point of getting involved in public service if you can’t cash in?

And even if Lamar Alexander is a great guy, a wonderful father and husband, and a decent human being (and I don’t know the guy from Adam, so hey– he could be all those things) his career points to a world view that is both scruple-impaired and lacking in a sense of how public goods should be preserved and maintained for public benefit. If this is how he thinks the world works– you call some friends, you make some deals, you look out for the Right People and they look out for you, and it’s all cool if this gives you an inside lead on making some huge profits from nothing but your connections– how can that worldview not infect the legislation that you create and support?

This is not about public service or responsibility. This is a guy who regularly ranks in the top 13-14 richest Senators who has no inherited fortune and no actual job, but who has gotten rich simply by being a well-connected politician, and by using those connections to push privatized solutions that erode necessary public institutions and make life worse for the people who depend on those institutions. This is about finding new ways the Right People with the Right Connections can cash in. Ka-ching. Not the sound we’re looking for in public education or a US Senator.

In 2013 , my brother wrote some more about “our friend,” Lamar.

Alexander Lamar

The National Education Association is presenting its 2016 Friend of Education award to Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.

In a previous post I looked back on the role of Alexander in the first Bush administration as Secretary of Education and his work with Chris Whittle and the Edison Project. Whittle was an early pioneer in school privatization and worked closely with Alexander.

In 2013 my brother Mike Klonsky commented again on Lamar Alexander. This time he wrote some comments to a post about Alexander on Diane Ravitch’s blog. Ravitch had been an under-secretary of education when Lamar Alexander was the first Bush’s Education Secretary a quarter century ago.

…Yes some people did get rich on holding Edison stock (back then it was Whittle Communications stock), those that bought it cheap and sold it dear. Take Lamar Alexander (and Mrs. Alexander) for example.

Former Department of Education employee and writer Lisa Schiffren says that, “His fortune is founded on sweetheart deals not available to the general public, and a series of cozy sinecures provided by local businessmen. Such deals are not illegal…” Schiffren further notes that, in 1987, Alexander helped found Corporate Child Care Management, Inc. (now known as Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc.), a company that – via a merger – is now the nation’s largest provider of worksite day care. While businessman Jack C. Massey spent $2 million on this enterprise, Alexander co-founded the company with only $5,000 of stock which increased in value to $800,000, a 15,900 percent return within four years.

Also in 1987, he a wrote a never-cashed investment check for $10,000 to Christopher Whittle for shares in Whittle Communications that increased in value to $330,000. In 1991, Alexander’s house just purchased for $570,000 was sold to Whittle for $977,500. Alexander’s wife obtained an $133,000 profit from her $8,900 investment in a company created to privatize prisons. Alexander frequently shifted assets to his wife’s name, yet such transfers are not legal under federal ethics and security laws.[24] In his 2005 U.S. Senate financial disclosure report, he listed personal ownership of BFAM (Bright Horizons Family Solutions) stock valued (at that time) between $1 million and $5 million dollars. He taught about the American character as a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

And so it goes. Great thinker & leader? I don’t agree. Clever investor with other people’s money. Yes.

Friend of Education?

Not really.

Lamar Alexander. With friends like him teachers need no enemies.

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President George H. W. Bush and Lamar Alexander.

I get it that Tennessee’s Republican Senator Lamar Alexander was a chief sponsor of ESSA, the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

And I get it that the NEA supported ESSA, although nobody can explain to me exactly what they think is so good about ESSA.

Still, I am puzzled that they are giving Alexander the NEA’s Friend of Education award at this year’s Representative Assembly in D.C. next week.

Alexander has a long history of not being very friendly to public education and teacher unions, including as the first President George Bush’s Secretary of Education.

Let us go back to 1992 when the NEA was not very happy when Alexander fronted for one of the pioneers in public school privatization, Chris Whittle and his Edison project.

It was back then that my brother Mike Klonsky wrote about Whittle, Alexander and the NEA in an article about the Edison Project that was published in the Chicago Reader.

Another group targeting Whittle’s program is the unions. Ellen Shearer, a spokesperson for the 780,000-member American Federation of Teachers, says the Edison Project “is diverting attention and focus from the problems of the public schools.”

On the other hand, antiunion forces are forming a new independent association of nonunion teachers as an alternative to the AFT and the National Education Association (NEA). “We are the wave of the future,” said Davis Bingham, executive director of the 54,000-member Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest affiliate of the embryonic national group, which has not yet been formally named. With its base of conservative teachers and sponsorship by such right-wing groups as the National Right to Work Committee, the new association could provide Whittle–if he wants one–with an alternative to the mainstream teachers’ unions.

And the current NEA’s best friend of public education Lamar Alexander’s role in all this?

Whittle’s plan, according to the New York Times, “runs parallel to the new education plan unveiled by President Bush and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander–a plan that calls for grants to groups that set up experimental schools, and for the building of more than 500 “choice schools” by 1996. His schools also complement the Bush-Alexander view that public funds should be used to pay for private tuition. By positioning himself early, Whittle stands to become the biggest single recipient of public voucher funds in the country as well as the dominant policy voice in American education circles.

 

NEA RA. I’m not going, but Hillary is.

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Hillary and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

For only the second time in over twenty years I won’t be attending the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly which takes place next week in D.C.

I’ve been elected as a retired delegate the past three years, but in my fourth year as a retired teacher, I am no longer an NEA member.

Since I’m no longer engaged in collective bargaining, I depend on organizations that  will fight for the rights and promised benefits of retirees. The NEA, and my local state affiliate, don’t meet that simple requirement.

Hillary Clinton received the early endorsement of the NEA in her run against Bernie Sanders. Although NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia was never as visible in the Clinton campaign as AFT President Randi Weingarten (who seemed to spend the past six months doing nothing but tweeting pro-Hillary tweets non-stop), the NEA contributed money and other resources to Clinton. This was in spite of the fact that it seemed to many delegates coming out of last year’s RA that the NEA would not rush an endorsement. The eventual NEA endorsement of Clinton was criticized by many for side-stepping the rank and file membership.

Hillary will be the featured speaker at the national meeting. I think she is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5th.

If past practice is any precedent, not much will be demanded of the candidate or the Democratic Party in exchange for teacher dollars and votes.

As the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss points out in a column today, education issues have not exactly been front and center in the primary campaigns of either parties.

Sanders has rarely mentioned them.

Clinton’s record is one of support for the corporate reform agenda.

Trump is crazy.

Strauss reprints the issues that Diane Ravitch’s group, the Network for Public Education, is bringing to the Democratic Party’s platform committee.

They include an end to high stakes testing, resources for closing the opportunity gap, fully funding IDEA, strengthening FERPA and and opposition to privatization.

Debates over the Party platform are good in that they shine some temporary national light on the issues, but Party platforms are like last year’s Oscar awards.

Nobody remembers who won after they are over.

The two national teacher unions will work hard to get out the vote for Clinton over Trump. Randi Weingarten couldn’t be more obvious about her wish to be Clinton’s Education Secretary if she wore it on a sandwich board.

With Hillary’s past record of support for the corporate education agenda, and her likely election, the real work of rank and file educators in defense of public schools will continue way past November’s election.

 

A year since Charleston. Silence=Death.

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Last week it was the unfathomable news of the intended murders of 50 Gay men and women, mostly of color and mostly Latino, in an Orlando dance club.

One year ago today, a white supremacist walked into a Charleston church and killed nine African American parishioners engaged in bible study.

In a few weeks, on July 2nd in Washington D.C., the National Education Association will hold its national convention.

Ironically last year it was held in Orlando, a few miles from the location of last week’s massacre.

At the Orlando meeting, most delegates were still reeling from the Charleston shooting.

On behalf of the Illinois delegation I introduced and moved New Business Item 11, which called on the NEA to support efforts to remove the symbol of American slavery, white supremacy and racism from public schools and public places.

In the year since we passed NBI 11, the movement in defense of the Confederate flag has exploded.

Politico reports:

A year later, the backlash against the Confederate flag has spurred a counter-backlash, one that is playing out in countless skirmishes in courtrooms, township council rooms, bedrooms and Facebook posts, especially in the South. In the six months after the Charleston shooting, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 364 Confederate flag rallies around the South. That doesn’t include a spurt of growth in the number of flags on private lawns and on bumper stickers.

364 Confederate flag rallies.

One a day.

The Confederate flag movement is inextricably tied to the campaign of Donald Trump.  The Trump rallies and the Confederate flag rallies attract the same white supremacist crowds.

And what has been the response to New Business Item 11. It produced one of the longest discussions in the history of the National Education Association’s Representative Assemblies.

A few weeks ago the NEA distributed copies of model legislation on the Confederate flag to state affiliates. To my knowledge, no state has witnessed the introduction of the model legislation in their state legislatures.

A few days ago I received an email from the NEA that there would be an article on the Confederate flag on June 19th in their online Education Votes.

Finally they will say something in response to NBI 11 one year and two days after the Charleston murders. It is a few weeks shy of a year since the last RA.

Not exactly moving with the speed of lightning.

Silence = Death was the slogan of many Gay activists in the 70s.

At the NEA RA in Washington I expect there will be a moment of silence for those who died in Orlando.

For a national union that claims to be for social justice, their silence seems to last for more than a moment.