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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

NEA National, State-Level Leaders Earning Big Bucks, Labor Disclosure Form Shows

National Education Association National President Reg Weaver received more than $370,000 in compensation last year, while NEA Executive Director John Wilson received more than $304,000 for the year, according to a new LM-2 disclosure form filed by the powerful education union with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Education Intelligence Agency's Mike Antonucci is tracking the LM-2s being filed by NEA, the American Federation of Teachers and other education unions. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao expanded the scope of disclosures required by the LM-2 form in 2003 to include more detail on union spending and political activities. She had to overcome intense opposition by labor unions.

Antonucci notes:

"NEA Vice President Dennis Van Roekel received a base salary of $226,077 and allowances of $46,873, for a total of $272,950. NEA Secretary-Treasurer Lily Eskelsen received a base salary of $223,104 and allowances of $49,143 for a total of $272,247.
"These figures may or may not represent the full amount earned by the three executives, as they have the option to defer a portion of their NEA income during their time in office. Former NEA President Bob Chase, for example, received $62,790 in 2004-05, even though he completed his term in 2002.
"The salaries of the members of the NEA Executive Committee are also included in this year's report. Michael Billirakis of Ohio received $159,550, Mark Cebulski of Wisconsin received $132,145, Carolyn Crowder of Oklahoma received $99,375, Michael Marks of Mississippi received $146,504, Rebecca Pringle of Pennsylvania received $132,643, and Marsha Smith of Maryland received $174,310."

Go here for Antonucci's full report.


Meanwhile, over on the charter schools front, John Fund offers this note on The Wall Street Journal's OpinonJournal site (subscription only):

"Despite Big Labor's success in defeating California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reform initiatives last month, a few brave officials are still willing to challenge the public employee unions at the local level.
"Take the burgeoning charter school movement, which now has 570 schools in the state serving about 3% of the state's public school enrollment. They are about to be joined by one of the state's largest high school districts, fast-growing Grossmont in San Diego, which wants to convert all 10 of the high schools serving its 25,000 students into self-governing charter schools.
"Charter schools are a halfway house between traditional public schools and the use of vouchers. Schools remain public, but can ditch the state's massive rulebooks and have control over their own hiring and firing. In exchange, they must show gains in student achievement or risk the loss of their charter. It's performance-based education, and most parents love it.
"But school bureaucrats do not. Bruce Seaman, the president of the local teachers union in Grossmont, calls the idea 'the first step toward the privatization of public schools.' Nonsense, says Ron Nehring, the chairman of the local elected school board and a booster of charters. 'The schools would be governed by a board elected by the parents which would report to the school district's trustees,' he told me.

"'What can be more democratic and sensitive to what parents actually want?'
"The proposal has been praised by Grossmont Superintendent Terry Ryan, who told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Mr. Nehring 'is calling for a full discourse on charters, and that's really what should be happening.'

"In fact, even the supporters of the status quo are pushing a plan to convert one local high school in the district to charter status, although half of the seats on the board governing that school would be guaranteed to be filled by teacher union representatives.
"The debate over reforming public education in California is increasingly between those who want real reform and those who recognize the public is demanding change but still want to have the new system controlled by the status quo behind the scenes."