The high level of input makes the low level of output even more disturbing. Many college freshmen now spend time in remedial courses, learning what was previously learned in high school. College professors complain routinely that their students, even their graduate students, are unable to write a coherent exposition. There is widespread discontent among students, parents and teachers--a feeling that "something" which eludes them has gone wrong.
Roadblocks to Competition
Contemporary analyses and commentaries tend to step delicately around the essential obstacle to reform: teachers' unions, which exercise a virtual monopoly and do their best to stamp out competition. In a recent paper, Caroline Minter Hoxby illustrated the effects of teacher unionization after 1960. Statistical analyses based on groups schooled before that date often find that "school quality 'matters,'" while estimates based on post-1960 cohorts show results of similar significance "only occasionally." Teachers' unionization, she suggests, may explain how "a lack of competition among public schools translates into more generous inputs and worse student performance."3
In other words, 1960 marks a watershed: the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) began their rise to power in the 1960s. The NEA now numbers almost 2.5 million members; the AFT, close to one million. In 1998-999, the NEA collected $220.5 million in obligatory dues.4 Many teachers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Wichita, and the entire state of Minnesota belong to both unions and contribute to each. Florida, New Mexico, and Montana are likely to merge over the next two years, so double counting is likely to swell the total.5 Total AFT revenues for 1996-97 have been estimated at more than $350 million. The disparity stems in part from the higher proportion of AFT teachers in urban districts that charge relatively high fees.6
Fed by the forced contributions of their membership, both unions have gained enormous political power, becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Party. The bias is evident in PAC contributions from the NEA and the AFT over the last two election cycles. In 1997-1998, NEA-PAC contributions to federal candidates went 95% to Democrats and 5% to Republicans. In 1999-2000, the figures were slightly more lopsided, 97% to Democrats and 3% to Republicans. The PAC of the AFT stood even more solidly behind Democrats: in 1997-1998, AFT-PAC's contributions to federal candidates went 98% to Democrats and 2% to Republicans; in 1999-2000, the Republicans lost an additional percent as contributions to Democrats climbed to 99%.7 The partisan nature of union support has led one commentator to assert: "For most practical purposes...the NEA (and AFT) are adjuncts of the Democratic Party."8
The NEA and NEA-PAC contributed substantially in money and effort in support of the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. At the Democratic National Convention in 1996, the unions claimed 400 of the over four thousand delegates, or roughly one in ten.9 Four years later, the pattern repeated itself. Of the 4,368 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August 2000, 1500 were union members. Of these, 350 plus fifteen alternates, or 8%, were members of the NEA.10 Another 150 were members of the AFT.11 Prior to the convention, on May 24, 2000, the Democratic National Committee's fundraiser in Washington, D.C. netted a record $21.3 million. The National Education Association was one of the groups honored for having donated upwards of $500,000 to the party for that event.12 The political muscle wielded by its large number of members and its substantial contributions has enabled the NEA to derail school-choice initiatives from California to the District of Columbia.13 When the NEA endorsed Al Gore, they expected him to continue opposing vouchers and support "business as usual" if he were elected.
Those who doubt the political traction of the unions should note the appointment of Roy Romer, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as head of the Los Angeles school system. Following announcement of the appointment, Romer promised to resign as chairman of the Democratic National Convention Committee, a meaningless gesture. He already knew that Los Angeles would host the convention that would nominate Al Gore and produce substantial revenues.14 As governor of Colorado, Romer was pivotal in the defeat of school voucher initiatives. The troubled Los Angeles system has little to fear in the way of reform.
The unprecedented legislative and regulatory authority of the teachers' unions, principally the NEA and the AFT, has grown dramatically over the past forty years at the national level. The union star began rising during the liberal decades that followed the Eisenhower presidency. By signing Executive Order 10988 in 1962, President John F. Kennedy legalized collective bargaining for federal employees.15 The teachers' unions expanded on the opportunity, pressuring teachers to accept unionism and monopoly representation, thus undermining the independence of classroom teachers and local school boards. The NEA-sponsored Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 became, at $1.5 billion, the single largest federal aid to education program enacted to that date by Congress; it, too, worked to centralize power. In 1979, in large measure as recompense for backing by labor, President Jimmy Carter established the Department of Education. The educational bureaucracy applauded its stalwart supporter. 16
Collective bargaining, however, constitutes the core of union power. Private sector bargaining is governed by federal statutes and court decisions that apply universally; in contrast, state laws govern bargaining for teacher unions, and they often differ. Only nine states prohibit collective bargaining in public education; seven have no collective bargaining law but permit it as a school board option; the remaining 34 and the District of Columbia have enacted bargaining laws. Nominally, the National Labor Relations Act (1935) applies only to private sector unions, not to unions of state and local government employees. States that have enacted collective bargaining laws applicable to teachers, however, have managed to define collective bargaining in ways similar to the definition set forth in the NLRA.17 Thus, in the majority of states, legislation makes it possible for union officials to impose monopoly bargaining on all teachers in the public schools. In 20 of those states, the unions can also force teachers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
A series of Supreme Court decisions in cases litigated mainly by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have established the right of nonmembers to refuse payment of full dues and assessments. They are obligated to pay only "agency fees"--fees that cover contract negotiation, grievance procedure, and administration. By objecting they can obtain a refund of "non-chargeable" expenses--non-chargeable being those funds used for political activities. Objecting, however, is an onerous process. The unions are under no obligation to tell employees of their right to pay only "agency fees," so many are unaware of the possibility.18Moreover, peer pressure is strong; and teachers often fear that "making waves" will jeopardize their positions.
"Exclusive representation" sets the seal on union power: the union winning a representation election for a local affiliate of the NEA or the AFT becomes the "exclusive representative" of the teachers in the bargaining unit, for members and nonmembers alike. Individual teachers can no longer negotiate their terms and conditions of employment and must pay at least "agency fees."19 Through the enforced collection of union dues, and, in addition, the unionization of support personnel, the unions have contrived to create a political machine of awesome power intent on protecting and enlarging its turf.
The NEA Agenda
If "Message is everything," what is the message? The proceedings of the NEA Representative Assembly in 1995 indicate the ultraliberal, federally oriented bent of the organization. Of the myriad resolutions adopted at that meeting, the following are worthy of note:
Opposition to English as the Official Language. The Association declared that efforts to legislate English as the official language disregarded cultural pluralism, and must be challenged. The NEA (which generally disregards parental preferences) must have been shocked in June 1998 when a large number of Hispanic parents in California, believing that command of English was the key to success for their children, voted for Proposition 227, the Anti-Bilingual Education Initiative. The union will find even more disturbing a recent report showing that insistence on English in the classroom has met with great success.
Federal Financial Support for Education. As would be expected, the NEA urges "general federal support for the whole of public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education."
Voucher Plans. The NEA is stolidly opposed to "voucher plans or funding formulas ... under which education is financed by federal, state, or local grants to parents, schools, or school systems--could lead (sic) to racial, economic, and social isolation of students and weaken or destroy public education."
Labor Movement Education. This resolution contains virtually the only mention of curriculum. It should be "an integral part of the curriculum of our schools" to show "the influence of the labor movement and unionism on the growth of the United States."
The resolutions cited are notable for their insistence on federal controls, whether of finances or guns, and for the almost total absence of interest in teaching. The one exception, "labor movement education," confirms the leftward leaning perspective of the association.20
The NEA Convention of 2000, held in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, reinforced the anti-competitive stance of the union. To the detriment of the curriculum, union affairs held center stage. One critic noted:
with few exceptions, there was an absence of any attention to the educational problems of widespread public concern ... no programs or discussions of widespread reading deficiencies, and low mathematics and science achievement.
The low educational achievement of minorities did spark concern; but the problem was to be solved by spending more on the remedial programs that have not been effective for thirty-five years.21
The delegates refused to endorse a proposal linking bonus pay to teacher performance. The union also opposed the use of extra pay for "hard-to-recruit" positions, such as math and science teachers.22 Ironically, given the NEA's political role, Bob Chase, union president, decried the overly hasty implementation of standards and high-stakes testing, claiming that "politicians in many states, in their rush to jack up student test scores, have botched standards." 23
The resolutions of 2000 underlined the positions adopted in earlier conventions. Once more the political agenda trumped the curriculum.
Vouchers: According to Lieberman and his associate, Charlene Haar: "The evils of vouchers were by far the preeminent topic: Neither of us heard as much as one sentence that portrayed vouchers as anything but a right-wing scheme to destroy public education, or a snare and a delusion for the unwary."24 To make clear their opposition, delegates voted to support a $5 per member annual dues increase, $3 of which would be earmarked for opposing ballot measures in the coming elections that would establish vouchers in such states as Michigan and California.25
Regulation: To restrict competition, the NEA proposed that "all schools must be accredited by the appropriate agencies in collaboration with the NEA and its affiliates." In other words, the NEA should be empowered to regulate private schools.
Home Schooling: Going one step farther, the convention resolved to promote regulations to forbid parents from teaching their children unless they are "licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency" and pursue "a curriculum approved by the state department of education."26
Early Education: The NEA sought to extend its monopoly by demanding "mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance." In fact, it supports "early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight." 27
The NEA may be disinclined to discuss methods and content for math and science, but it emphasizes its belief in an "environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality."28 It is, moreover, in favor of gun control, reversing the ban on affirmative action in the University of California system and a range of other liberal policies. 29
The American Federation of Teachers also held its convention over the
July 4 weekend, this time in Philadelphia. Palliatives rather than self-criticism were the order of the day. President Sandra Feldman proposed a fifth year of high school to help students improve their basic skills.30 A disgruntled critic responded by suggesting that the "Public high schools need to make far better use of the four years they already have." 31
Like the NEA's Bob Chase, Ms. Feldman claimed to support the drive to create higher standards for all students; but she too worried about the "backlash" against "high-stakes standardized tests." Pointing to the lack of curricula as a weakness while acknowledging that the federal government is prohibited by law from writing curriculum, she proposed that the Department of Education "invite states into a consortium that would solicit plans to develop and evaluate curriculum and educational software."32
Ms. Feldman, who promotes the AFT's cause frequently in the media, made testing a central concern in a commentary broadcast shortly after the convention. In an effort to appease all sides, she declared:
Good testing programs help show whether schools and students are meeting high standards, and thus make educators and school officials more accountable as well. Parents and teachers strongly support testing. But many of us are also concerned that there may be too many tests, and some are being misused or abused.
Tests must be linked to an agreed-upon curriculum ... Standardized tests ... should not be the sole measurement of a child's or a school's performance.... Where problems exist, let's fix them. But let's not abandon testing. That would give us no way to gauge the very real progress our schools are now making. 33
Considering the rising tide of complaints about the public schools, the remarks seem disingenuous at best.
At their conventions, the NEA and the AFT endorsed Al Gore. Members of both unions appeared ready to work for the Democratic ticket. The NEA decided to spend $6 million on 25 contested congressional races; the AFT also supported a number of those races. 34
How do the unions accomplish their goals? The NEA's Uniserve operatives--the shock troops of the union's liberal agenda--swing into motion. Standing midway between the NEA's national officers and its supporters at the school board level, they constitute a potent political force. The NEA created the program in 1970 to provide full-time salaried professional personnel as a resource for local affiliates. In 1972 there were 600 Uniserve workers; seven years later, the figure had more than doubled to 1,500. The AFT has established a similar squadron of staffers, mainly in the Northeast, to coordinate union-related activities. 34
Their pay is far from negligible. With benefits of about 35%, the typical representatives makes between $60,000 and $100,000 annually,37 far more than the average classroom teacher. The National Institute for Labor Relations Research estimates the average salary of a staff member at $72,000 per year. The Institute also notes that, in 1991, 22% of the $92 NEA annual national dues went to Uniserve. Per state that 22% snowballs into millions. Uniserve staffers operate out of six regional NEA offices and have their own union, the Association of Field Staff Employees, to negotiate on their behalf. The NEA is closemouthed about the salaries and fringe benefits attributable to those positions, but it is clear that they are well paid. 39
Primarily they are political players. They can develop and execute the political action plan of the local affiliates and advise on or even handle contract negotiations and grievances for the affiliates. Working with the local union, the Uniserve directors coordinate and activate national and state association programs and priorities.40 To achieve their goals, they have been known to resort to vandalism and threats of violence.41 Fear is a major weapon. The operatives have succeeded in frightening school board members, principals and superintendents, teachers, and parents. Given the shield afforded by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Emmons, they conduct business in an atmosphere all too reminiscent of "On the Waterfront." 42
How has this liberal program developed? The NEA is far from anxious to publicize the source. Its program and the tactics and strategy to implement it through the Uniserve program stem from the philosophy of Saul Alinsky, a radical activist of the seventies who established the Industrial Areas Foundation--a training institute for community organizers. In January, 1972, Alinsky and his associates, Edward Chambers and Richard Harmon, conducted a training program for Kentucky Uniserve personnel and, in February, a similar program for Uniserve personnel in Illinois. The "Principles of Organizing" material drawn from those programs became the basis for "Alinsky for Teacher Organizers"--a broadside drafted by J. Michael Arisman, Midwest Training Consultant for the National Education Association. 43
The approach is resolutely confrontational. Alinsky believes that power lies not with teachers, but with the community. Organizers must find local leaders to organize the community to put pressure on the superintendent or the school board on issues relating to education. Teachers are vital to the operation, since they have access to the community through children and their parents. "Alinsky's approach to organizing people is to appeal to their self-interest. He does not believe people can be organized around altruistic motives such as the welfare of children or the good of education." Only by appealing to self-interest can people be organized for change. NEA organizing is built around that central principle. The organization is to be served; helping children is optional extra.
The building of a power base through the cultivation of key leaders to organize and galvanize the community is all important. The dedicated few will enlist others. Conflict is critical, for "The real training does not take place with words, but only actions, which means that in order to train leaders the organization must set enough brush fires to keep them active and to keep the action going." It is vital to seize the moment: "If your job is to train leaders, you must be lucky enough to have your people insulted or assaulted (verbally) by the other side. This helps to accomplish your training task."
Class hatred underlies the entire manual. Alinsky notes: "Action is critical, especially with the white middle class." The manual continues: "How do you develop the rage to change things in the middle class? Analyze your own life and see what it was that got you into organizing."
The section on "Organizing Tactics" again emphasizes the importance of action, of stoking the "brush fires" to keep up the energy. Mediated reform is far from Alinsky's mind. As Arisman, notes: "Certainly Alinsky would not recommend exchanges of letters or private discussions with the superintendent as a way of building the organization." Communication might solve the problem but would fail to "provide the kind of action that is exciting and what makes your people want to get involved with the organization." Such pronouncements make it clear that the 'us v. them' strategy is alive and well.
Indeed, Arisman said,
the Alinsky advice on tactics is guerilla war advice. To win: know the enemy ... and personalize the conflict. ... You should not let your people fraternize with the enemy. Distance helps you to polarize the issue--to make it an us-them affair.
The successful organizer will start small, moving on to big issues only after he has won consistently in the minor leagues. Harmony and accord are far from the goal: "The organizer must not resolve issues even though he might be able to." Resolution might undermine the confidence of his followers.
Under "Treatment of Issues," one phrase bears emphasis: "You must not enter into any fights you are not sure of winning." To win the organizer must polarize the issue "by creating an us-them situation" while personalizing it so that "you are fighting a person rather than the system (the school board)."
Alinsky's principles clearly underlie the tactics and strategy of the NEA and, arguably, of the AFT as well. Class warfare and confrontation are basic to the union approach. Small wonder that so many parents--sensing the argumentative and socialistic approach as antithetical, not only to educational principle but to their beliefs--are trying to pull their children out of the public schools; or at least to find alternatives. In the unions, however, they face a formidable opponent.
The Kamber Report
Alinsky's political philosophy permeates the unions. However, there have been setbacks to their otherwise steady advance. The Reagan years, in particular, posed a threat. In 1983, the publication of A Nation at Riskshowcased the failures of public education, leaving the unions scrambling for cover. The NEA made every effort to blunt the criticism, pleading for more time and more money. Finally, in 1996, NEA's president, Bob Chase, commissioned an outside review by the Kamber Group, a media consulting organization known to be favorable to liberal causes. By February, 1997, it had completed An Institution at Risk: An External Communications Review of the National Education Association, commonly known at "the Kamber Report."44 It was never intended for release to the public, but it was leaked to the popular press. Eventually the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a right-to-work advocacy group, obtained a copy and publicized the contents.
The "Preface" makes clear the ideology underlying the study:
For the past 13 years ... the NEA and our public education system has come under increasing and unrelenting attack. The assault has been led by anti-government ideologues who believe the private sector does everything better, by anti-labor zealots who jump on every opportunity to bash unions, by CEOs who seek profits from educating our children, and by religious extremists who equate public education with Satan. 45
The report goes so far as to note that "the NEA is now painted as the number one obstacle to better public education," even by "one of America's most influential columnists (and hardly a conservative), David Broder."46
Endlessly combative and thoroughly tendentious, the report sketched an outline of the NEA as it currently operated while suggesting a strategy to improve the image of a union under attack. Through interviews with leaders and staff of the NEA and its state affiliates, analyses of NEA video, advertising and other print material, the study noted, "What we found is an organization that wants dramatic change and has made some important steps in that direction, but has not yet found the key to going all the way." 47
Concern with image, rather than substance, dominates the study. The section on "Findings" emphasizes "Political Orientation," observing that the NEA is viewed as a "powerful arm" of the Democratic Party. The characterization is admittedly accurate, "But from a message standpoint, it contributes to the notion of the Association as a gargantuan interest group--and this is not consistent with the objective of portraying the NEA as concerned first and foremost with our children." The association would benefit if it were seen as more evenhanded "but one cannot wave a magic wand and suddenly make dozens of Republicans decide to stop supporting vouchers and start improving public education." The study does admit the possibility of placing "greater external communications emphasis on the few members of the GOP it [the NEA] does find worthy of support."48 As noted earlier, those members are very few indeed.
The report outlines a strategy to fight vouchers, but never addresses the substantive arguments underlying the voucher movement. The union's opposition becomes simply a matter of "turning the organization's image around" on the question of educational reform. If the NEA can be viewed as "a supporter and creator of education reform ... then the Association will be much more effective in making vouchers go away." One person interviewed summarized the NEA's viewpoint: "Vouchers are just a battle, the war is over public education."49
The vocabulary of combat and crisis runs through the report, which speaks of "the NEA's legal battle against Milwaukee's vouchers for sectarian schools, the fight against vouchers in California, and the fight against parental rights in Colorado." The press is viewed as the enemy. Charter schools constitute "a tricky issue": there are bad ones as well as good ones. The NEA is unable to give charters unqualified support; as a result, its position has been "misunderstood by less-informed mainstream reporters and mischaracterized by critics."50 In dealing with teacher tenure and merit pay, the report criticizes "sensationalized stories" about teachers who are unfit.51 Nowhere is there a measured discussion of merit pay and tenure; the report focuses exclusively on the face the NEA presents or should present to the world.
The summary concludes that teachers constitute "an amazing, unused weapon in the NEA arsenal," one that remains "potent and untarnished." The Kamber report fails to define exactly how to use this weapon. It can only reiterate "the analogy that was found in the executive summary. There is a war going on over public education...as serious as any threat, domestic or foreign."52 In keeping with this finding, "the NEA must adopt a crisis mode of operations," if it is "to save and improve public education, and ... enhance the lives and livelihoods of NEA members." To achieve this goal, the NEA must become a chameleon, spending "less time attacking its opponents and more co-opting them--taking some of their positions, molding them to be beneficial to NEA members, and becoming the creator ... of education reforms."53
The report's concluding "Recommendations" sketch the plan of battle. "The vehicle for mobilizing the NEA nationally, its state affiliates and local Associations should be a campaign to redefine the NEA as not only the defender but also the improver of public education." The concluding pages continue to hammer home the importance of "Image-Redefining NEA to the World," while sketching the campaign for "Better Teachers, Better Students, Better Public Schools." Research is simply a matter of "finding the right approach," for "Message is everything."54 Marshall MacLuhan could scarcely have been more eloquent.
REFORM BUILDS MOMENTUM
Disturbed by the acknowledged failure of public education to produce capable young adults (despite the infusion of massive amounts of cash), frustrated parents, as well as a number of equally frustrated teachers and educational reformers, have combined to establish alternatives. Charter schools, public and private vouchers, independently funded scholarships, and for-profit schools have as their common denominator the drive to introduce competition and freedom of choice. Each of these stresses output in the form of competent students, rather than input in the form of more and greater subsidies. The unions have bitterly opposed such initiatives, or, if defeat seems certain, moved to co-opt or modify them. "Payroll protection"--measures designed to strike at the heart of union power by prohibiting the use of dues for political purposes--have run aground on the shoals of bitterly fought campaigns and protracted struggles in the courts.
In the effort to bring about change, charter schools have played a leading role. Charter schools are still public schools, financed generally by the traditional tax mechanisms that fund each school district. They differ in their emphasis on accountability and flexibility. They receive waivers from the state exempting them from many of the rules and restrictions generated by the unions that characterize traditional public schools. In return, they must demonstrate significant progress, generally through the standardized tests decried by Ms. Feldman. Since the schools must apply for renewal of their charters, usually within three to five years, the prospect of evaluation is ever present. Individual charter schools supply a laboratory for the viability of competition and choice. More than 1,700 are now operating across the country,55 an explosive growth in the brief space of eight years. Thirty-six states and the District of Colombia have enacted legislation allowing such schools; and the federal government is providing $145 million this fiscal year for expansion. 56
The road to success, however, has been far from smooth with opposition coming not only from the teachers' union, but also from the NAACP and the Urban League. The educational establishment believes, correctly perhaps, that the charters will open the door to vouchers. The NAACP and the Urban League see them as a means of reintroducing segregation. The public, particularly in well-to-do suburban areas, often fears that the charters will undermine financing for the public schools which, in their districts, are seen as functioning effectively.
Lessons in Conflict
After three years of opposition from the Minnesota Education Association and the Minnesota Teachers Association, Minnesota passed the first law allowing choice in public education in 1991. It was also the first in the nation to institute a statewide open-enrollment policy, an important signal of flexibility. Legislation enabling charters followed, in part owing to pressure from parents who found the system lacking in opportunities. The first charter, City Academy, opened in St. Paul in 1992. Working with students aged thirteen through twenty-one, the academy quickly acquired a reputation for dealing successfully with youth from a low-income, racially diverse area. It now has a substantial waiting list but prefers to remain small, in order to focus on developing individual skills. Violence has not been a problem; there are no metal detectors. Given its record of success, the St. Paul Board of Education voted 7 to 0 in 1995 to renew its charter for another three years. 57
On May 4, 2000, to celebrate its seven-year existence and to promote his education agenda, former President Bill Clinton paid the school a visit. He noted that in 1992, when he was first elected, City Academy was the nation's only charter school. By 2000, there were 53 in Minnesota alone. He also announced the release of $16 million in new grants for charter schools as well as the continuation of $121 million in previously awarded grants. Although the charters, which operate generally on minimal budgets, may welcome the federal largess, many supporters fear that federal support will mean unwelcome federal involvement.58
Arizona boasts the largest number of charter schools nationwide: 348, or 26 percent of the state's schools.59 A supportive superintendent, Lisa Keegan, has smoothed the way for the charters, which have mushroomed, even though statewide public school choice is available. Since Arizona is a Right to Work state, the unions have been less of a problem there than elsewhere. Michigan, with 125 charters constituting 4.5 percent of the public school system, is a strong second despite union opposition.
Legislation facilitating charter schools runs the gamut from strong to weak. The strongest state laws establish the charters as independent entities and give them full control over staff and budget, although many do limit the number of charters.60 The weakest laws do the reverse: they require the charters to remain part of the local school district, giving them no control over staff and staff salaries. Massachusetts, with relatively strong legislation, has managed to establish 39 charters, covering 4.5 percent of public schools; and Ohio has created 48 charter schools in the second year of its program. In New Mexico, the legislation is feeble, and the state has only three charters. The law in Virginia is also weak; charter advocates are struggling to establish schools under restrictive legislation passed in 1998. The number of charters is limited to two per school division and they must be nonsectarian.61 In Washington State the legislature has refused to pass a charter school law. In a bitterly fought contest in 1996, the teachers' unions managed to defeat an initiative to make charters possible.62 In the same election, the unions also defeated an initiative that would have instituted vouchers.
The obstacles created are many and varied. In North Carolina, despite a relatively strong law, the attorney general issued a preliminary ruling stating that charter teachers would be unable to take advantage of the state retirement system unless the schools agreed to surrender their independence and function as part of the local district. In Illinois, hostile districts derailed several proposals.63 However, no state better illustrates the bitter fight by union leaders to undercut charter school legislation than the battle fought in New York State over Governor George E. Pataki's proposal. Sandra Feldman, president of the 90,000 member strong United Federation of Teachers, was particularly troubled that the individual school, rather than the union contract, would handle hiring and firing. That the original Pataki proposal would not require teachers to attain state certification constituted another ground for opposition.64
The battle raged for more than a year during which New York City's United Federation of Teachers joined forces with the Chancellor of the city's schools to oppose the measure.65 Finally, the governor threatened to veto a legislative pay raise if the lawmakers refused to pass the bill. Governor Pataki was able to sign, on December 18, the "New York Charter Schools Act of 1998." The provisions--more properly, the restrictions--give some idea of the union demands and the compromises necessary for passage. The legislation permits up to 100 new charter schools, but an unlimited number of conversions from public to charter schools; that is, provided that the conversion be authorized by the Board of Education of the local school board or, in New York City, by the Chancellor. Classes are to be small; except during the first year, a charter school must serve at least 50 students and employ at least three teachers.
The Act grinds on in "legalese," but it clearly sketches the battle waged to win passage. Existing private schools, for example, are not eligible for conversion--meaning that the wolf of sectarian, probably Catholic schools, seeking to convert is being held at bay. The section on school personnel makes clear the extent of union involvement. Uncertified teachers may comprise no more than 30% of the teaching staff, or five teachers, whichever is less. They must also jump over a number of hurdles. They must possess at least three years of elementary, middle or secondary classroom teaching experience, be tenured or tenure-track college faculty, have two years of experience with the Teach for America Program, or possess exceptional business, professional, artistic, athletic, or military experience. How those two years of experience are to be gained in a universe hostile to uncertified personnel is left unaddressed.66
The details on school personnel provide the key to the basic demand of the unions: unionization. Employees of a charter school converted from an existing public school become automatically subject to the district's collective bargaining agreement. There are, however, distinctions.Instructional employees of a charter school which has not been converted from an existing public school, and which has more than 250 studentsduring the first year of instruction, will be represented in a separatenegotiating unit at the charter school by the same employee organization representing similar employees in the local school district. In other words, they are to be unionized. Only the truly small fish escape the net: instructional employees of a new charter school whose enrollment does not exceed 250 students are not required to be represented by a negotiating unit.67 The dues to be garnered from the restricted number of such schools are clearly too small to be worth considering.
The legislation constitutes a Faustian bargain. Only schools with less than 250 students can operate free of the straitjacket of unionization. Successful schools, however, are likely to be under pressure to expand from parents who would like to enroll their children. Either the parents and the children are to be frustrated or the teachers are to surrender their independence to the unions, thereby undermining the innovation and flexibility that led to the success of the schools.
With 234 charters, roughly 3% of the public schools, the state stands at an arithmetical midpoint. Given its size, however, the total number might have been higher had the opposition been less fierce.68 In the early 1990s, the California Teachers Association (CTA) led the fight against the establishment of charter schools. State Senator Gary Hart, the author of the bill, had hoped for union support but was forced to combat vigorously union attempts to control charters under the proposed legislation. As a sop to the unions, the bill finally required that, to gain approval, the charter petition had to be signed either by 10% of the teachers in the district or by fifty percent of the teachers at any particular school in the district. Signing the petition would simply indicate that the signer supported the creation of the charter, not that he or she was to teach at the charter school.
Passed in 1992, the Charter Schools Act originally permitted up to 100 charter schools. As a result of a waiver from the State Board of Education, however, 130 charters were operating by 1997-1998. Effective in January 1999, the legislature authorized the operation of 250 charters for the 1998-1999 school year, and eased financing by letting the charters get funding directly from the state rather than filtering it through the local school district.69 The expected additional 100 charter schools were to be established in each succeeding school year. To evaluate the effectiveness of the schools, the Legislative Analyst is to prepare a report by July, 2003.
Although generally positive, the record has been mixed: from the success of the San Carlos Learning Center, which has enjoyed unqualified support not only from parents and teachers but also from its superintendent, to the trench warfare that greeted the proposal for a charter high school in San Jose--the Downtown College Prep. That charter contained an extended school day and school year, general characteristics of charter schools, plus a summer bridge program to serve the disadvantaged youth of San Jose. It also had a merit pay provision for teachers.
Those proposals were anathema to Kathy Burkhard, president of the San Jose Teachers Association. At one point during the discussions, she simply placed the collective bargaining contract on the table, indicating that nothing remained to be negotiated. The virulent opposition was familiar to all who have crossed swords with the monopoly controlling public education in this country. Like hibernating bears, union officials have found a cozy niche and are reluctant to allow teachers to venture out into the cold competitive world outside.
A public hearing in November again roused union opposition. Although a dozen Latino children and parents spoke strongly in support of the proposal, Burkhard declared that San Jose's teachers were already delivering a quality education. "Your dream is our reality;" she asserted.70Considering the high dropout rate and low test scores, that reality seemed an illusion. Whether Downtown College Prep will ever acquire the funding to become a force in the lives of the Latino children it hopes to serve remains in doubt.
Attacking Success: the Unions in Action
Ms. Burkhard and her fellow union members, to say nothing of the bureaucratic union hierarchy, have reason to feel nervous. The movement for school choice, competition, and accountability--of which charter schools are very much a part--is gathering momentum across the country. During the fall of 2000, there were 350,000 students in 1,684 charter schools spread across 32 states and the District of Columbia.71 The teachers' unions are battening down the hatches. In 1999, California Assemblywoman Carole Migden (Democrat, San Francisco) introduced a bill sponsored by the California State Teachers Association that would have forced unionization on charter schools, supposedly to assure competitive pay and sound working conditions. Teachers would have been required to join or pay dues to the unions in their own districts and accept the terms of contracts resulting from collective bargaining. Unable to start their own unions or to negotiate individually on their own behalf, they would have been absorbed into whichever union represented the district, becoming the only public school employees in California required to be represented by a union.72
It's doubtful that teachers in charter schools will benefit from forced union "representation," a misleading term since the unions often ignore the wishes of their members. About half of California's converted charter schools--those that result from turning an existing public school into a charter--have kept their ties to the district union. In turn, the unions have often given waivers to the charters on issues such as longer school days; but the union tie has meant that those schools have less control over their operations. The brand new "start-up" charters, like San Carlos, typically shun unionization73 and have greater freedom to innovate in curricular matters and greater control over salaries. They can, for example, institute merit pay.74
Nevertheless, Democratic supporters on the Assembly Education Committee, predisposed to follow the lead of union lobbyists, strongly supported Migden. To the dismay of charter school advocates, the bill reached the floor of the legislature. Yvonne Chan, principal of Vaughan Next Century Learning Center, one of the state's top charters, lamented, "If [Forced Unionization] passes it will be the districts and the unions that run charter schools."75
Since California Governor Gray Davis had union support during his campaign, passage of Migden's bill seemed assured, even though Gary Hart--author of the original charter bill and now Secretary of Education--was known to be opposed to union encroachments. A wild card appeared in the person of Jerry Brown, now mayor of Oakland and a charter champion, who organized a busload of students to lobby the legislature in Sacramento.76 He had reason to be concerned: the Oakland public schools are of such poor quality that roughly one-fifth of school-aged children attend private schools.
As a result of Brown's efforts and anger at the highhandedness of the legislature, hundreds of parents, children, and teachers from charter schools statewide converged on Sacramento in May, 1999, to protest Migden's bill outside the state Capitol; they forced a retrenchment. According to Migden, an amended bill, AB 631, which did pass, would simply grant union officials the power to unionize if some teachers and support staff supported unionization. Critics noted that the bill was in fact unnecessary since union officials already had that privilege under existing law.77 The debate highlighted the hostility of Migden and her union supporters to the charter concept. Migden claimed that allowing public funds to flow to schools without collective bargaining agreements "rankled" her. Given that the California Teachers Association contributed heavily to her first election campaign in 1996, and to her re-election in 1998, it seems more likely that she was concerned first and foremost with "rankling" her supporters.
Although the May demonstration may have afforded the charters a narrow escape, California's budget creates a further obstacle. As of January, 2000, to obtain state funding, charters must prove that their students spend the same number of minutes in class as those in regular schools. Senate Bill 434, an obscure provision of the state's new budget, will knock out the schools heavily dependent on the Internet, computers and distance learning. Unless administrators can account for "seat time," they may no longer have a school.78 Once again legislators, abetted by the unions, are attempting to constrict the scope of the charters.
The Union Strikes Back: Legislation
Shrugging off the setback inflicted by Jerry Brown and allied protesters, the unions surged back strongly. Senate Bill 1960, introduced by State Senate President John Burton (D-San Francisco) in February, 2000, revised dramatically the 1975 Rodda Act, under which public school employees could elect to have a union represent them in collective bargaining negotiations. The Rodda Act had stipulated that an agency-shop fee could be imposed on non-union employees only as part of the negotiated contract, and only after an agency-fee election had been conducted under state supervision. Also, a majority of employees had to vote to compel collection of the fees.
The Burton legislation provided instead that agency-shop fees would no longer be part of collective bargaining contracts that have to receive majority approval by employees, but would be imposed automatically through pay-check deductions on all non-union employees as a condition of continued employment. As an alternative, they could choose to join the recognized employee organization; but, in either case, they would have to pay the organization a fair share service fee called an "organizational security" fee. Supporters--Carole Migden among them--argued that non-union employees receive the benefits of union representation at the bargaining table and should be required to bear part of the costs.79
To trigger an election designed to rescind the fee system would require a petition backed by 30 percent of bargaining unit members, a costly and difficult process. Furthermore, pro-union forces were not anxious to acknowledge that math and science teachers, who are much in demand, might command higher salaries if they could bargain individually with districts. The conflicts with basic principles of freedom of association and individual rights of free choice were, of course, ignored.
Without significant opposition, the bill passed the state legislature in August, 2000. Faithful to his union backers, Governor Gray Davis signed the bill on September 28, 2000. The California Teachers Association was thereby assured of a windfall estimated at $20 million by one source; the California School Employees Association could collect $10.5 million. The forced fees could be and were used in the fall election campaign to support Democrats. Despite Ralph Nader, Al Gore won California by a significant margin.80
The Union Strikes Back: Co-Opting
Faced with growing numbers of charter schools and increased support among parents, the unions have attempted to co-opt the charters by establishing their own. In 1996, leaders of the NEA said that they would help to establish five projected schools, together with state and local affiliates. They could then step back and study them. To support the project, the NEA pledged $1.5 million over five years.81 Ironically, the charter schools begun in Connecticut and Colorado were to operate under the flexible labor agreements that the Migden bill sought to ban.81
Generally, however, the schools are slated to operate under tight controls, to function very much like the average public school. In states with collective bargaining, teachers would receive the same benefits and contract provisions as their public school counterparts. How will the charters differ? The NEA has hired a team of researchers to document and evaluate the schools. The NEA is also taking part in a federally financed study to examine the links between the charters and other public schools.83 If all goes well, the union will be able to co-opt the winning strategies and emerge unscathed.
The Bottom Line
Lest an observer of the unions should believe that the NEA was softening its stance, a glance at the NEA/NY press release on "Education Policy" should clarify the union's basic policy. In June, 2000, the "Advocate" published the following under "Resolutions, A. Education Policy."
NEA/NY is opposed to the creation of charter schools and other publicly funded non-traditional school programs that: 1) do not require all affected public school employees to be directly involved in the design, implementation, and governance of such schools; 2) have a negative impact on the regular school program; 3) are not fully accountable to the local board of education; 4) are not staffed with certified personnel who are members of the local bargaining unit or who are not accorded full union and collective bargaining rights; 5) violate the terms and conditions of the local collective bargaining agreement; 6) fund schools or activities that are pervasively sectarians in nature... 11) diminish current or future funding levels for the regular school program in the district.84
It was carefully noted that "THIS IS AN AMENDMENT BY SUBSTITUTION OF CURRENT RESOLUTION A-52 IN WHERE WE STAND," the last being a reference to the NEA manifesto.85
The report of the NEA Committee on Privatization, approved at the NEA convention in July, 2000, confirms this stance. The committee recommended that a similar special committee be established to produce a report on charter schools for the coming year, and President Bob Chase indicated that he would follow the recommendation. Given the manifesto issued in New York, there can be little doubt concerning the nature of that report when it emerges.86
Strengthening the Charters: Expanding the District
Recognizing the power of the unions demonstrated above, charters have sought to bolster their position in the educational community. Chartering across school district lines is one option. It would create economies of scale and might boost staffing autonomy--an important criterion in the Fordham report, The Quest for Better Teachers: Grading the States.87
A negotiation in Sarasota County, Florida, however, illustrates the difficulty of implementing such an approach. During the winter of 1999, Superintendent David Bennett suggested chartering the whole district, allowing principals and school advisory councils to run individual schools while contracting out such operations as food, transportation, and maintenance now delivered by district workers. The Sarasota Classified Teachers Association refused to grant principals broader powers and opposed contracting out. District employees were unionized, but vendors under the contract proposed would, in all probability, be non-union. Vendors could deliver services more cheaply, but would not be paying union dues. Opposition to "contracting out" is a primary tenet of the National Education Association. The Sarasota CTA was simply reading from the standard script.
In presenting its contract to district administrators, the union also proposed that the new charter district plan include a 5 percent pay raise for all Sarasota County school employees, provided that the goals of the School Board were met each year. That may sound like merit pay, but the politics of school boards suggests a different reality. Many members are likely to have received union support in their campaigns, so would be reluctant to establish goals difficult to meet. Negotiations between union members and a group from the school district proceeded while district administrators sought to gain community support for a charter district. Once approved by Bennett and the School Board, a plan would have to be submitted to Governor Jeb Bush and his cabinet for consideration.88 Given the Governor's support for greater freedom from governmental intervention, the outcome would likely be favorable.
Queried about his supposed opposition to charter schools, Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, a voucher proponent since 1955, noted that he was not, in fact, against charter schools but saw them as a stepping stone to vouchers. Ironically he voiced the principal fear of the unions. The difficulties encountered by charter schools do suggest that vouchers may provide a simpler and more direct approach, affording choice to millions of minority parents and their children trapped in the failing schools of the ghettos. The well-to-do already have a choice: once wedded and with children, they can move to the suburbs which are famous for better schools. The poor of the inner cities have no such option.
Vouchers are actually a form of scholarship and may be either public or private: the latter come from privately organized foundations, individuals or corporate donors to enable children to attend schools better suited to their needs. Public vouchers are government grants to parents who want to send their children to particular public or private schools. Often the private schools are parochial, that is, run by the Catholic Church, whose schools are well known for producing capable, literate students. Vouchers funneled to parochial schools, however, have ignited controversy. As voucher opponents raise the specter of separation of church and state, they voice their fears about religious influence on children and on the political process.
Wisconsin: the First Stepping Stone
Although the private voucher movement may be growing more rapidly than the public, it was a voucher experiment in the public sector that first attracted widespread attention. In the late 1980s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Polly Williams, a Democratic state legislator, spearheaded the initiative. Appalled by the sorry state of the Milwaukee schools but opposed to busing, she championed vouchers to remedy the high drop out rate and dismal academic performance of the Milwaukee system. 89
Milwaukee parents supported her enthusiastically and prevailed, even though the Wisconsin Teachers Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the State Department of Public Instruction, as well as Democratic politicians, opposed the idea on the grounds that it would undermine the public schools. Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and other conservatives were more receptive. Determined campaigning finally led to the nation's first public voucher system, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, implemented by the state legislature in 1990-1991.90 It was a pilot program limited to 1,000 low-income students and to a small number of participating private schools.
Legal hurdles surfaced almost immediately. Opponents, including the State Department of Public Instruction, challenged the legality of the program, pursuing the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which upheld the vouchers. With Thompson's support, in 1995 the Wisconsin legislature approved extending the program to religious schools. Opponents again challenged its constitutionality and obtained a temporary injunction, evidently hoping that the case would reach the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court upheld the program in June, 1998, and the U.S. Supreme Court in November declined to hear the challenge. Opponents continue to hope that the controversy over the separation of church and state may eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue.91
The establishment has tried to hamstring the Milwaukee Public Choice Program by restricting the number of schools in the program. That restriction limits choice and competition. Constraining the numbers who may participate makes evaluation difficult because the sample size is too small. Also, the program has been in operation for too short a time. Slowly, however, the numbers are growing. Moreover, impressed by the enthusiastic parental and student response in Milwaukee, two strong public voucher programs have sprung up: one in Ohio, the second in Florida.
Ohio: Blocking Competition and Choice
In 1995, the Ohio legislature set aside a small amount of scholarship money to allow children from poor families to receive $2,500 each toward tuition at a private school chosen by the family. Almost immediately the program was over-subscribed: there were 17,000 applicants for the vouchers, more than four times the number of vouchers available. Most families did use the vouchers to send their children to parochial schools, whose tuition was closer to the amount allotted. In June 1999, as the program was to begin its fourth year, state legislators expanded the voucher program so that it would reach children in higher grades.
The program also survived a legal challenge. In May 1999, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the voucher program, not on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state, but on the grounds that it violated state law in establishing and funding the program as part of the state budget, rather than as a separate measure. The legislature immediately passed a new statute that allowed the program to continue.
Enter U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr., a Clinton appointee. Supported by the teacher's union, Judge Oliver blocked Cleveland's voucher program for new students one day before the beginning of school, thereby frustrating the aspirations of 4,000 children. Noting that the participating schools were overwhelmingly sectarian, the judge asserted that "the Cleveland program has the primary effect of advancing religion." Judge Oliver postponed a final decision on the constitutionality of the program, but indicated that there was "a very substantial chance" that he would find for the plaintiffs, who included members of the teacher's union.92
The judge's ruling touched off a furor. Frantic parents insisted that they would continue to send their voucher-holding children to private and parochial schools, whatever the financial sacrifice. The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland told parents that their children would be welcome. Ted Forstmann and John Walton, co-chairmen of the Children's Scholarship Fund, offered funds to insure the continuation of the program. The Cleveland Plain Dealer lambasted the decision in an editorial entitled, "Voucher Vulture."93 Critics pointed out that federal law had never settled the question of whether vouchers violated the separation of church and state; only a few state courts had dealt with the issue.94
The unions were, predictably, jubilant. Michael Billirakis, president of the Ohio Education Association, claimed that the ruling is "good for public education" and that "our primary concern is that vouchers take away [money] from public schools." Considering the vast amounts of cash funneled to a public school system from which parents and children were fleeing, the comment seemed the height of hypocrisy. It was also factually untrue. In 1997, Ohio included 1300 scholarship students in Cleveland's public school enrollment count, even though they were enrolled in private schools. As a result, Cleveland schools were subsidized for students they no longer taught, a net surplus of $118,473, according to a study published by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.95 The vouchers were, in other words, a net financial asset to the system.
Daunted at least slightly by the outcry, Judge Oliver first stayed his order, allowing the program to continue. Ohio officials asked the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to postpone the effect of Oliver's order. When the court failed to act, Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery appealed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who handles emergency matters from Ohio. Stevens referred the matter to the full Court. On December 3, 1999, splitting along ideological lines, the Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, postponed the effect of Oliver's order until the Sixth Circuit could hear the case.96 There was much speculation that the Supreme Court would consent to hear a case involving vouchers and rule on the quarrel concerning the separation between church and state, but once again it avoided the issue.
On Monday, December 20, 1999, Judge Oliver made his earlier temporary order permanent, although he did say that the program could continue running pending an appeal to the Sixth Circuit. The governor and attorney general immediately vowed to file the appeal. Meanwhile an opponent spoke scathingly of "this voucher gimmick that's leaving children, parents and taxpayers high and dry." More to the point was the remark of one parent who called Oliver "the Grinch who stole Christmas."97
Ironically, a state-commissioned study conducted by the Indiana Center for Evaluation at Indiana University reported in September, 1999, that the experimental program was beginning to meet its objectives, including improved academic achievement for low-income inner city children now able to attend private schools. Cleveland's 73,000 public school students, in contrast, failed all 18 state proficiency tests.98
Parents, children and voucher supporters were doomed to be disappointed. On December 11, 2000, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, sustained the December ruling of the previous year. The court's panel held that the voucher program was unconstitutional because it had the "impressible effect" of benefiting sectarian schools. Although the decision came shortly after the defeat of voucher initiatives in Michigan and California, supporters insisted that the ruling could put the issue before the Supreme Court.99
Michigan: Union Blockade
The clash was closely watched in neighboring Michigan. Although a recent poll found that 57 percent favored state-funded vouchers to pay for private school tuition, the union stood squarely in their way and could find much to gloat over in Judge Oliver's final order. A 1970 amendment to the state constitution, supported strongly by the Michigan teacher's union, blocks choice scholarships. The initiative that appeared on the November 2000 ballot, sponsored by "Kids First! Yes!," would have amended that constitution to legalize tuition vouchers for private schools.
Governor John Engler, who sends his own children to a private school, was staunchly opposed to the proposal, claiming that it would undermine efforts to improve public education.100 The Michigan Education Association, helped by the NEA, contributed sizably to defeat the measure and enlisted teachers in the campaign. Michigan was a key state in the November 2000 general election, and the vote was seen as representing, in part, a referendum on Al Gore's well-publicized opposition to vouchers.101
Despite a carefully orchestrated campaign that drew support from the Catholic Church and from the African-American community, Proposal "1" (School Vouchers) failed. The margin was discouragingly large, 30.2 to 69.8,102 and will make further reform attempts difficult.
Florida: Competition Succeeds
When Jeb Bush campaigned for the governorship of Florida, he made school reform a major issue. In 1999, once he had been elected, the state enacted the first statewide school voucher plan--a program to give tax money to students at the worst public schools so that they could attend a private school.103
Predictably teachers' unions and school administrators criticized the measure sharply. Pat Tornillo, president of the Florida Education Association/United, one of the state's largest teachers' unions, moaned that voucher schools would be able to hire uncertified teachers.104 Fearful of change and the loss of funds from the state, administrators joined the chorus. Opposition, however, coalesced (as elsewhere) around the issue of the separation of church and state. No matter that the scholarship checks would go to parents, not to children; no matter that the sectarian schools receiving vouchers could not compel students to adopt a particular religious belief or to pray; allegedly the voucher program would doom the public schools and undermine the First Amendment.
The day after Governor Bush signed the bill, opponents filed a lawsuit challenging the program. Organized as the Florida Coalition for Public Schools,105 opponents included People for the American Way, the National Education Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. The NAACP may seem an odd partner, but members have argued that vouchers are a way to reintroduce segregation.
The ACLU's opposition is more difficult to understand. Pushed to its logical limit, opposition to such programs as statewide vouchers entails opposition to the GI Bill, Pell grants, and daycare vouchers, to say nothing of tax exemptions for religious institutions.106 Nevertheless, the ACLU continues to campaign against the vouchers that can provide a tool for measurable improvement in a failing system, insisting that indoctrination into a faith is a greater danger than lack of skills in an increasingly competitive world.
At first the unions triumphed. In March, 1999, Judge L. Ralph Smith, Jr. of the Circuit Court of Florida ruled that vouchers contradicted the Florida constitution which it mandates the provision of a "uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high-quality system of free public schools." Using the voucher system to provide the services offered by public schools "supplants the system of free public schools." As one commentator pointed out, similar provisions exist in nearly all state constitutions. Smith interpreted Florida's constitution in the narrowest manner possible. He was also far from unbiased. When evidence surfaced that his son was engaged to a high-ranking official of the Florida Education Association, he refused to recuse himself.107
Once again, the unions gloated. "This ruling puts a stake in the heart of the voucher movement," intoned Bob Chase, president of the NEA. Despite the enthusiasm with which parents in poor communities greeted the voucher program, he touted the decision as a "tremendous victory for families and children."
In a unanimous opinion recently released, however, a three-judge panel of Florida's First District Court of Appeals overturned the trial court, finding this time that "Opportunity Scholarships"--the vouchers created by Florida's Bush administration--were indeed constitutional. The Florida constitution, Judge Charles Kahn, Jr. declared, "does not unalterably hitch the requirement to make adequate provision for education to ... the public school system." Meanwhile, faced with the threat of scholarships after receiving their first "F's," 78 schools improved this year to the point of being moved off the failing list. Competition proved effective in raising performance within the system.108
The ruling will reverberate throughout the union community. More than 25 state legislatures have voucher bills pending, and Florida will set an important precedent. It seems likely that a challenge will soon make its way to the highest court.109
District of Columbia: Political Wrangling and Hypocrisy
In Congress, the unions wield enormous though less obvious influence. Legislators want to be re-elected, and re-election depends in many cases on endorsements and support from the NEA and the AFT. As a result, representatives and senators have been reluctant to back school choice. However, in 1997 Representatives Richard Armey (R-TX) and Floyd Flake (D-NY), together with Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Dan Coats (R-IN), introduced the D.C. Student Opportunity Scholarship Act. The legislation would have provided up to $3,200 in aid for approximately 1,800 of the District's low-income elementary students, who could have attended the public, private, or religious school of their choice in the D.C. metropolitan area. The Act was originally part of the D.C. appropriations package. The Senate, after much wrangling, made the Coats-Lieberman bill a stand-alone bill, and by voice vote approved it on November 9, 1997. Then the House passed it on April 30 of the following year. President Clinton, however, vetoed the measure.110 He sent his own daughter to a prestigious private school but was unwilling to grant the same freedom of choice to those less fortunate.
The unions have been less adamant in their opposition to charter schools than to vouchers, so the charters have had more success in the District. Congress passed a strong charter school law in 1995, and amended it in 1997, adjusting upward the annual payment to include funding facilities and other capital costs. The D.C. Public Charter School Board approved ten applications for charters in the 1999-2000 school year, bringing the total to 29, or 10% of D.C. public school students--a group large enough to provide a meaningful sample for evaluation of the effects of the charters on educational attainment. The D.C. Board of Education, the second chartering authority, approved five schools for the fall of 1999. Despite well-publicized hopes, however, the success of the charters is problematic. The District has long had difficulty in hiring effective teachers and the pervasive curricular emphasis on self-esteem rather than on achievement continues--a combination unlikely to produce encouraging results.111
The CONTINUING BATTLE in the STATES
The overriding concern of the teachers' unions is to keep their monopoly, to say nothing of the money and political power that go with it. Therefore, despite the limited successes noted above, they continue to challenge every move to enlarge the competitive scope of the charter schools, and continue to oppose the freedom to choose represented by vouchers.
In November, 1998, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 17, a tax credit ballot initiative, by a substantial margin. The amount of the credit would have been at least 50% of the state's per pupil expenditure, but no more than 80% of the actual cost of private school tuition.112 An NEA press release noted gleefully that the vote marked "the fifth consecutive rejection of a statewide initiative to provide public tax dollars to private schools."113
Why did it fail? In a brilliantly ironic analysis, David McGroarty suggests that the anti-voucher side had the superior game plan of a winning football team. With misleading ads, a focus on class warfare, and simplistic rhetoric, the anti-voucher forces flipped the initial margin from 67% support in July to a 60-to-40 defeat in November. The Colorado experience thus validated the observation that "Every voucher initiative leads early, and fades fast."114
Six years earlier, the first Colorado voucher initiative had met a similar fate. In August, 1992, it led by 67% to 33%; but the 34-point lead became a steep loss in November. Ironically the 1998 version was closer to being revenue-neutral; it also did a better job of extending vouchers first to whose most in need.115 Such advantages faded under the well-financed union attack.
A year after the first Colorado initiative, in 1993, California's ballot measure also went down to defeat. Voucher supporters were able to place Proposition 174 on the November ballot as an initiative entitled "Parental Choice." However, the California Secretary of State must approve the heading of each initiative as reflective of its contents. The California Teachers Association had endorsed the candidacy of March Fong Eu for that post and could count on Eu's support. It initiated legal action to require changes in the heading and Eu ordered the heading changed from "Parental Choice" to "Education Vouchers." Support for the proposition dropped by ten points.116
To defeat the initiative, the California Teachers Association assessed each of its members a $57.80 surcharge, raising over $14 million for its campaign.117 Together, the NEA, CTA and SCTA's PACs, raised an estimated $18 million.118 The initiative's proponents raised only $2.7 million and the proposition failed. The vast sums at their disposal had enabled the teachers' union to outmaneuver the opposition, virtually drowning supporters in an avalanche of radio and television ads, plus the ubiquitous support of teachers who lobbied parents and manned phone banks.
Nothing daunted, the Friends of Vouchers 2000 gathered more than 1.2 million signatures across the state, guaranteeing a place on the November 2000 ballot. Supporters claimed that they would "give every child in California the quality education they deserve!"119
Unfortunately, the initiative was defeated once again by a sizable margin: 69.1% "No" to 30.9% "Yes."120 Although means testing has its drawbacks, the initiative--designed to help "every child" by giving each a voucher for $4,000--wound up helping none. The well-financed CTA had only to repeat the mantra that vouchers for everyone help only the well-to-do. Failing to examine the rhetoric and vaguely guilty about the options they enjoy, suburbanites voted against what they saw as a handout for the wealthy. As a result, minority children will continue to be trapped in the ghettos.
Washington State: Good Intentions Crushed
Voucher and charter school initiatives on the ballot in Washington State in 1996--Numbers 173 (vouchers) and 177 (charters)--raised high hopes for that state's dismal public school system. It was thought that the passage of Initiative 134 with more than 70% of the vote in 1992 had curbed the power of the unions by prohibiting the use of union dues for political purposes.121 The Washington Education Association challenged that initiative immediately; over a decade later, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (a small independent policy institute) is still battling in the courts to support paycheck protection.
The history of that struggle sheds light on the extent of union power. By 1996, the year of the two initiatives designed to promote freedom of choice in education, the union forces had regrouped. The two union programs established in the wake of the initiative--WEA-PAC and the WEA's Community Outreach Program (COP)--were able to provide the WEA with over $900,000 annually. In its drive for political power, the WEA--which had budgeted $1.5 million to influence the election--contributed $700,000 of that amount to the "No to 173 and 177 Committee," set up to defeat the initiatives; it also "laundered" $410,000 from the National Education Association. Its treasury overflowing, the WEA's political team swung into action. With a dozen political action team members, 22 full-time regional directors, and more than 300 local representatives who could be released from teaching to campaign, it overwhelmed voucher and charter school supporters. The two pro-choice initiatives went down to defeat in the November 1996 elections. Curiously they lost by the same margin: "Yea," 36%; "Nay," 64%.122
Ron Taber, who was also running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, spearheaded 173, the voucher initiative, which would have given each child $3400 the following year. His pronouncement must have sent chills down the spines of teacher union supporters. If children are not learning in a poor school, he declared, then
if parents had the choice they would pull their children out of that school and if they pulled enough of their children out eventually everyone in that building would lose their job. This of course will wonderfully concentrate the minds of our teachers to make sure they do offer a product which meets the needs of the consumers, the parents.123
In response, the WEA chose to ignore widespread criticism and parental discontent. Its spokesman simply asserted that 173 would transfer taxpayer money to under-supervised private schools.124
The initiative on charters was the brainchild of Jim and Fawn Spady, co-founders of the Education Excellence Coalition in Seattle. The measure would have enabled school districts to license any nonprofit organization to establish an independent public school, free from most regulations; government spending would follow each student to the school; and a public school could convert to an independent school.125 The unions killed it.
The most recent developments in the case strain credulity. The WEA on September 20, 2000, sought to prevent the Evergreen Freedom Foundation from suing the officials--union officials who have used money collected from non-members as political contributions without their permission--by signing a stipulation admitting guilt of multiple violations of the statute. Accordingly, in October, the Attorney General filed the lawsuit. Now, two months before the trial, the WEA wants to deny the guilt stipulated and argue that the law is vague and unconstitutional. (The statute declares that a labor organization may not use agency shop fees paid by an individual not a member of the organization to make contributions or expenditures to influence an election or to operate a political committee unless affirmatively authorized by the individual.) In the earlier court case, they found the law clear.
The shift may be explicable in terms of the $800,000 collected in one year by the WEA, which should have been rebated to the 4,194 non-member teachers referenced in the stipulation. By declaring that the law is "vague" and retracting their original admission of guilt, the union officials hope to avoid the rebate. As the broadcast networks used to say, "Stayed tuned."126
The movement for reform in education has stimulated an impressive number of creative efforts: principally, charter schools in 37 states and the District of Columbia, and three voucher programs, most notably the one in Milwaukee. The teachers' unions, however, have managed to restrict the number and thus the scope of charters, and to oppose public vouchers with almost complete success. Their opposition is unlikely to abate as the unions campaign to preserve their monopoly and stifle competition. Democrats are seen as partners in that effort. The NEA and AFT endorsed Al Gore and worked for his election and that of other Democratic candidates. The enormous sums gathered through dues and assessments funded radio and television advertisements trumpeting the candidates' proposed reforms; and teachers stuffed envelopes and manned phone banks. The level of rhetoric will escalate in the future: the unions will to promote themselves as protectors of the future of America. The rhetoric bears little relation to reality and is undercut by the dismal record of educational failures in the public school system. Even so, the image projected by the unions finds ready acceptance by the public.
Suburban parents, secure in the knowledge that their schools and their children are performing well on tests, thus insuring admission to college, see little reason to change. They have choices which are denied to the poor and minority parents of the ghettos. Yet it is those disadvantaged parents and minorities that are making reforms, however limited in scope, possible. As a result of their efforts, the general public has become increasingly aware of the limitations imposed by the public school system. Despite the setbacks of Ohio, Colorado and California, parents may eventually be able to bring pressure to bear on legislators, and even on the judiciary, to open doors to competition which unions oppose.
Unfortunately, union opposition operates behind the closed doors of contract negotiations, shielded by state laws that provide for collective bargaining and mandate union membership. As a result, the self-interest of the unions will prevail for the foreseeable future. A shift in public opinion will be slow in coming, although it may well be the long-term instrument of change. Refusal at the state and local level to accept the nostrums touted by the unions may help to spark meaningful shifts in the universe of state legislatures and judiciaries. For the moment, however, the unions have the funds and the political clout to reign supreme.
* Dr. Moore taught at college and university levels for more than a decade before working in the fields of government and public policy. She is currently Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Dr. Moore has A.B. and A.M. degrees from Harvard University, and a doctorate from the University of Michigan.
1 The number rose from 1,600,000 in 1960 to 3,126,000 (proj.) in 1998. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 119th Edition, 1999, Table 275,
2 For high school dropout rates, see Statistical Abstract of the United States, 119th Edition, 1999, Table 303, p. 191. The figure for Hispanics in 1970 was not available.
3 Caroline Minter Hoxby, "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. CXI, no. 3, August 1996, p. 712.
4 "Where Do My NEA Dues Go?," Education Intelligence Agency, Mike Antonucci, Director, P.O. Box 2047, Carmichael, California, March, 2000, n.p. The 1998-1999 refers to the school year. In other words, the union starts counting in September. Telephone conversation with Mr. Antonucci, August 14, 2000.
6 Myron Lieberman, The Teacher Unions (New York: The Free Press, 1997), pp. 267-268. Lieberman explains in detail the difficulties of arriving at the estimate, among them the lack of federal filings by 16 state federations in a recent year.
7 The Center for Responsive Politics: Public Sector Unions, PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates, 1997-1998, 1999-2000, http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/index/00003251.htm & 00028860.htm, October 19, 2000.
8 Op. cit., Lieberman, The Teacher Unions, p. 76.
9 Claude Marx, "Teachers' Unions Flex Muscles," Investor's Business Daily,November 26, 1997, n.p.
10 "Democratic National Convention," Washington Post, August 13, 2000,
11 Catherine Jones, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., e-mail, August 17, 2000.
12 "Democrats Reward Big Donors," San Jose Mercury, May 24, 2000,
13 Carol Innerst, "Teachers Unions Seen Sawing At Reform From Bandwagon," The Washington Times, July 2, 1996.
14 "Those Depoliticized Schools," Editorial, Investor's Business Daily,
June 8, 2000, p. A 22.
15 G. Gregory Moo, Power Grab (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1999), p. 14.
16 Ibid., p. 160.
17 Op. cit., Lieberman, The Teacher Unions, pp. 47-48.
18 Ibid., p. 184.
19 Ibid., p. 20.
20 Op. cit., Moo, Power Grab, pp. 162-163.
21 Myron Lieberman and Charlene K. Haar, "NEA Convention 2000 Report and Commentary," Education Policy Institute, p. 1, http: //www.educationpolicyorg/NEAreport2000.htm.
22 "Teachers Against Reform," editorial, Washington Post, July 7, 2000,
23 Alana Keynes, "NEA President Attacks Role Of Politics in Education," Education Daily, July 6, 2000.
24 Op. cit., Lieberman and Haar, "NEA Convention."
25Andrea Billups, "NEA Raising Dues to Combat Vouchers," The Washington Times, July 7, 2000, n.p. The remaining $2 will fund state and national media campaigns promoting the value of public education.
26 "Regulation," "Home Schooling," Townhall.com, Copley News Service,pp. 4-5. Photocopy: Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism, July, 2000.
27 Ibid., p. 5.
28 Ibid., p. 5.
29 Ibid., p. 5.
30 Jodi Wilgoren, "Teachers' Union to Weigh Extra Year of High School," The New York Times, July 3, 2000, n.p.
31 "Recipe for Weaker Schools," editorial, The New York Times, July 7, 2000, n.p.
32 Jodi Wilgoren, "Teachers Union Leaders Oppose Push to Testing at the Expense of Curriculum," The New York Times, July 4, 2000, n.p.
33 Transcription provided by Video Monitoring Services of America, L.P. Program: KCBS-AM Radio (CBS), San Francisco, August 10, 2000, Phone: 415-543-3301.
34Kenneth J. Cooper, "Teachers Unions Are Poised to Boost Turnout for Gore," Washington Post, July 6, 2000, n.p.
35 Op. cit., Moo, Power Grab, p. 149.
36 Op. cit., Lieberman, The Teacher Unions, p. 182.
37 Op. cit., Moo, Power Grab, pp. 149-150.
38 Ibid., p. 150.
39 Ibid., p. 150.
40 Ibid., pp. 150-151.
41 Ibid., pp. 153-154. Moo details five instances of vandalism and unethical procedure from 1978 to 1882.
42 David Kendrick, "Freedom From Union Violence," Cato Policy Analysis No. 316, September 9, 1998. The Executive Summary notes that under the Court's decision, vandalism, assault, and even murder by union officials are exempt from federal anti-extortion law as long as the violence is deemed to be "in furtherance of 'legitimate' union objectives."
43 J. Michael Arisman, "Alinsky for Teacher Organizers," n.d. Photocopy supplied by Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism, Springfield, Virginia. All references to and quotes from the Alinsky material in the following paragraphs refer to that photocopy.
44 An Institution at Risk, photocopy provided by Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism, no pub., n.d.
45 Ibid., p. i.
48 Ibid., p. 18.
49 Ibid., pp. 19, 20.
50 Ibid., pp. 23-24.
51 Ibid., p. 25.
52 Ibid., pp. 31, 32.
53 Ibid., p. 33.
54 Ibid., pp. 33-34, 36.
55 Don Soifer, "The Charter School 'Advantage,'" Investor's Business Daily,February 8, 2000, p. A24.
56 Lynn Olson, "Redefining 'Public' Schools," Education Week, Vol. XIX,
No. 33, April 26, 2000, p. 24.
57 Joe Nathan, Charter Schools (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996), p. 28.
58 "Clinton Visits the Twin Cities," Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN, May 5, 2000, http://www.charterfriends.org/csweek-presvisit.html,pp.1-2.
59Chester E. Finn, Jr., Marci Kanstoruom, Michael J. Petrilli and Sheila Byrd, "Arizona" and "Minnesota," in The Quest for Better Teachers: Grading the States (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, November, 1999), pp. 18, 28.
60 Carol Innerst, "Charter Schools Get Mixed Reports," The Washington Times, August 4, 1996, n.p. Also, op. cit., Olson, "Redefining 'Public' Schools," p. 25.
61 Pamela Stallsmith, "House Joins Charter School Movement" and "Charter School Bill Clears Hurdle," Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 2, 3, 1998, photocopies, n.p.
62 Op. cit., Finn et al., pp. 28, 27, 32, 34, 40.
63 Gregg Vanourek, Bruno V. Manno and Chester E. Finn, Jr., "The False Friends of Charter Schools," Education Week, April 30, 1997, p. 60.
64 Jacques Steinberg, "School Leaders Cast Doubts About Pataki 'Charter' Plan," The New York Times, January 14, 1997, photocopy, n.p.
65 Bruno V. Manno, Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Gregg Vanourek, "Beyond the Schoolhouse Door," Phi Delta Kappan, June 2000, p. 739.
68For a detailed account of events in California, see Joseph Nathan, Charter Schools, pp. 190-191.
69 Anna Bray Duff, "Charter Schools in Choke Hold," Investor's Business Daily, August 13, 1999, p. A20.
70 John Fensterwald, "Is Teacher's Union Already Threatening New Charter School?," San Jose Mercury, November 9, 1999, p. 6B.
71 David Osborne, "The Benefits of Charter Schools: Healthy Competition," The New Republic, October 4, 1999, p. 31.
72 Anna Bray Duff, "Unions Target Charter Schools," Investor's Business Daily, May 11, 1999, p. A1.
73 As a result of a bill authored by Democrat Ted Lempert, AB544, and passed in 1998, "new hires" in charter schools must belong to the union.
74 Op. cit., Duff, "Unions Target Charter Schools," p. A 24.
75 Lance T. Izumi, "Unionization of Charter Schools," Fact Sheet, Pacific Research Institute, 1999, n.p.
76 "Jerry's Kids," Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1999, photocopy, n.p.
77 Patrick Hoge, "Charter School Unionizing Bill Tones Down," The Sacramento Bee, May 27, 1999, A3.
78 Anna Bray Duff, "Charter Schools in Choke Hold," Investor's Business Daily, August 13, 1999, p. A1. See also, Thomas Dawson, "Charter Schools," Fact Sheet, Pacific Research Institute, October 1999, n.p.
79 Bill Number 1960: Chaptered Bill Text, http://www.santarosa.edu/seiu/sb_1960_bill_20000929_chaptered.html.
80Ibid. See also, Lance T. Izumi, "A Windfall for Teacher Unions," Capital Ideas. Vol. 5, no. 19, May 9, 2000, http://www.pacificresearch.org/capital/00-05-09.html.
81 Lynn Schnaiberg, "In Midst of Skepticism and Scrutiny, NEA's 5 Charter Schools Push On," Education Week, Vol. XVII, no. 26, March 11, 1998,
82 Op. cit., "Jerry's Kids," Wall Street Journal.
83 Op. cit., Schnaiberg, "In Midst of Skepticism."
84 Six through 10 deal with unremarkable requirements for health and safety, educational opportunity for all, discrimination, and academic standards.
85 NEA/NY, "Advocate," http:www.neany.org/advocate/10.html.
86 Catherine Jones, reprint of Education Intelligence Agency, "NEA Convention Special Report," July 4, 2000; e-mail: EducIntel@aol.com. Key Leader Clipsheet, July 2000, p. 24.
87 Op. cit., Finn et al., The Quest for Better Teachers. The report enumerates four criteria used in ranking the states: "Multiple Pathways" (to accreditation), "Accountability for Results," "Staffing Autonomy," and "Subject Mastery."
88 Eileen Kelley, Sarasota Herald-Tribune Company, Sarasota Edition, December 3, 1999, http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document?-ansset=GeHauKO.
89 Terry M. Moe, "Private Vouchers," in Private Vouchers, ed. by Terry M. Moe (Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1995), no. 429, pp. 3-4.
90 Janet R. Beales and Maureen Wahl, "Private Vouchers in Milwaukee," in ibid., Private Vouchers, ed. by Moe, p. 42.
91 Op. cit., Moe, "Private Vouchers." See also, Wall Street Journal, August 25, 1999, p. B2. In a parallel case, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a 1997 law allowing tax credits benefiting religious schools; the Supreme Court again denied cert. David McGroarty, Game Plan, Friedman Foundation, p. 5, note 11.
92 Review & Outlook, "Suffer the Children," Wall Street Journal, August 26, 1999, A18.
93 "Finding a Way in Cleveland," National Center for Policy Analysis newsletter. Sources: "Children's Crusade" and "Cleveland Parents Frantic Over Voucher Decision," Wall Street Journal, August 27, 1999; Dirk Johnson, "Many Cleveland Parents Frantic as Voucher Ruling Limits Choice," New York Times, August 26, 1999; Editorial, "Suffer the Children," Wall Street Journal, August 26, 1999. By e-mail transmission, August 30, 1999.
94 "Of Tolerance and School Vouchers," Wall Street Journal, August 30, 1999, p. 26.
95 "How Much Do Cleveland Public Schools Make From Vouchers?," National Center for Policy Analysis newsletter. Source: "Cleveland Schools Profit from Scholarship Program," Policy Note, August 28, 1999, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. By e-mail transmission, September 8, 1999.
96 "Justices Allow Cleveland School Vouchers," USA Today, "Supreme Court," November 5, 1999; updated, December 8, 1999, http://www.usatoday.com/news/court/nsco1150.htm.
97 "U.S. Judge Rejects School Vouchers," San Jose Mercury News,December 21, 1999, p. 16A.
98Robert Holland, "Cleveland Vouchers Begin to Pay Dividends," School Reform News, Nov. 1999, http://www.heartland.org/education/nov99cleveland.htm.
99"Cleveland Vouchers Dealt Another Blow By Federal Appeals Court,"
U.S. Newswire, Washington, December 11, 2000, http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.usnewswire.com/topnews.
100 Bill Johnson, "Make School Choice Universally Available in Michigan," The Detroit News, June 9, 2000, http:www.detnews.comEDITPAGE/0006/09/johnson/johnson.htm.
101 Kenneth J. Cooper, "Teachers Unions Are Poised to Boost Turnout for Gore," Washington Post, July 6, 2000, n.p.
102 Michigan: Proposal "1": http://people.mw.mediaone.net/ddderek/electionresults.html.
103 "How Florida's Vouchers Work," Heartland Institute, www.heartland.org/education/aug99/how.htm.
104 "Florida Plans Statewide School Vouchers," April 28, 1999, Seattle Times Company, www.seattletimes.com/news/nation-world/htm198/altvouc?19990428,htm.
105 Jackie Hallifax, "Suit Filed Over Florida School Vouchers," The Groovy Café, June 22, 1999; www.groovycafe.com/articles/schools/990622a.htm.
106 Clint Bolick, "The ACLU's Hypocrisy on School Vouchers," Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1999, p. A19.
107 "Florida Teachers' Union Vs. Kids," Investor's Business Daily, March 16, 2000, p. A22.
108 "The Other Bush," Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2000, p. A22. See also "Unions On A Legal Losing Streak," Education Intelligence Agency Communique, October 10, 2000, p. 2.
109 Jodi Silgorenn, "Florida Judge Blocks School-Voucher Plan," San Jose Mercury News, March 15, 2000, p. 17A; and op. cit., "Florida Teachers' Union vs. Kids."
110 The Heritage Foundation, School Choice, 1999, District of Columbia, September 8, 1999, pp. 3-4, http://www.heritage.org/schools/district.html.
112 The Heritage Foundation, School Choice, 2000, "Colorado": http://www.heritage.org/schools/colorado.html.
113 David McGroarty, Game Plan, p. 1, note 1, Issues in School Choice,
No. 3, Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, December, 1999.
114 Ibid., p. 9. McGroarty's irony recalls that of C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters. Like Lewis, McGroarty poses as an advocate for the other side: an opponent of vouchers, rather than a supporter. He is thus able to skewer with merciless accuracy the mistakes of the earnest voucher advocates, who were unable to counter the precisely targeted attacks of the voucher opponents.
115Ibid., p.9, note 14; p. 16.
116 Op. cit., Lieberman, The Teacher Unions, p. 99.
117 Op. cit., Moo, Power Grab, p. 86.
118 Ibid., p. xv.
119 "School Vouchers Campaign Update," June 6, 2000; e-mail transmission, firstname.lastname@example.org.
120 School Vouchers; http://www.ventura.org/election/results.htm#c1180.
121 Lynn Harsh, "Judge Rewards WEA, Punishes Voters," The Settle Times, Sept. 2, 1999, http://www.seattletimes.com/news/editorial/html98/camp_19990902.html.
122Official November 5, 1996 General Election Abstract, Office of Secretary of State, Elections Division, Voter Registration Services, Olympia, WA, fax transmission, December 7, 1999.
123 Guy Nelson, "Initiative 173 - School Vouchers," October 14, 1996, p. 1, http://www.know.org/news/I-173.htm.
124 The report sponsored by the Fordham Foundation gives Washington State an F. Op. cit., Grading the States, p. 40.
125 "Washington," The Blum Center's Educational Freedom Report, No. 28, October 17, 1995, p. 2, http://www.mu.edu/blum/efr28.html#WASHINGTON.
126Evergreen Freedom Foundation, "WEA Seeks to Recant Admitted Guilt," e-mail transmission, March 8, 2001. See also, http://www.defendteachers.org.