David Boyle: A jubilant teachers’ union wields power and control over K-12 education

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Rep. Geran Tarr protesting the Legislature, where she serves in the House majority.

By DAVID BOYLE

The recent court decision dissolving the correspondence school system by Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman has given the National Education Association-Alaska even more than it asked for.

The battle lines have been drawn between the Education Cartel and more than 22,000 correspondence school parents. The court’s decision struck down the allotment system in its entirety by which parents get reimbursed for choosing education materials and services for their students. Judge Zeman stated that this part of the statute violated the Alaska

Constitution because parents were using state funds to purchase educational materials from private and religious institutions. The NEA-AK filed the case to maintain and increase its power over our K12 education system.

Former NEA-National counsel Bob Chanin sums up the government union’s power:

“Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.” It isn’t about the kids—it’s about power. To get the real feel of the union leader’s message, watch this video:

The Education Cartel has taken on more than 22,000 correspondence students, 17% of our student population, and their parents. It fears that the growth of the correspondence schools will reduce its power by having fewer members and thus less dues money.

It sees the only way to keep power is to destroy a successful correspondence program and relegate its students to mediocre brick-and-mortar schools. It is all about power. It is about control. And it is about money.

If the NEA-AK can bring most of these students back into the brick and mortar schools, then there will be more union members, more union dues, and more union power.

Here is the NEA-AK’s president Tom Klaameyer congratulatory email he sent to supporters, “We’re still reading through the entire ruling but it’s fair to say that this is a big win for public education in Alaska.”

Here is what the NEA-AK sent out to its members: “Our goal since the beginning of this case was to uphold the Alaska Constitution and ensure public funds are used for public education.”

Nowhere did the NEA-AK say it wanted to improve student outcomes, improve opportunities for Alaska’s children, provide the best educational fit for students. Nowhere.

That is exactly why parents of more than 22,000 students chose to remove their kids from the brick & mortar schools. They wanted better student outcomes. They wanted more educational opportunities, and they wanted the best educational fit for their kids.

  • Parents whose children were bullied in school left to protect their children.

Parents whose children did not feel safe left to protect their children.

Parents of special needs children left so their children would have more opportunities.

Parents whose children had gender identification issues left.

Parents who were not satisfied with the teaching of diversity, equity and inclusion left.

Parents who disagreed with the placement of sexual gratification books in school libraries removed children from school.

Parents who disagreed with the school district keeping student gender transitioning from them.

Parents who were totally dissatisfied with the ability of the government school to teach their kids how to even read.

Here is one parent’s comment on the NEA-AK Facebook page, “It is unacceptable to use our children as your collateral damage because you did not receive the funding that you requested”.

And these 22,000 students are collateral damage which the union has kicked to the curb. The Anchorage School District has seized on the court’s decision to immediately stop paying vendors for services already provided. Even though a stay has been requested, ASD wasted no time in informing vendors they aren’t going to pay them.

This is an extreme position that will hurt vendors, parents and especially the 2,000 ASD correspondence students. ASD’s decision disregarded DEED Commissioner Deena Bishop’s direction to all school district superintendents which states, “Therefore, your school district may continue to administer its correspondence study program, including paying outstanding invoices and other administrative duties at the present.”

Seems as if the Anchorage School District values money more than a child’s education. That should be no surprise. The battle lines have been drawn. It’s time for parents to put on their armor and defend their children’s futures. It’s well worth the fight. Children are much more important than saving the institution of K12 public education.

Even Vladimir Lenin knew the importance of controlling the education of children, “Give me four years to teach the children, and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

And Wilma Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation, said, “Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future.”

Will you allow the Education Cartel to control Alaska’s K12 education system and our children? Or will you stand up to defend our children? The choice is yours.

David Boyle is the education writer for Must Read Alaska.

34 COMMENTS

  1. The cabal didn’t take anything away that can’t be replaced by parents. They hadn’t done away with Homeschooling as long as parents and grandparents pay for the costs out of pocket. The State just took away tax-payers from funding this allotment.
    When the state of Alaska makes Homeschooling illegal THEN we have a major problem, This is just a test for that day such as when the government declared churches non essential and churches closed.

    I remind again the less money we take from government the less head aches the government cabal can give us.

  2. You know State of Alaska it has a budgeting issue. It spending more than it takes in. Eventually the things like Homeschool Allotments will be back on the chopping block.
    If people listened to my advice and wisdom don’t take anything from government or from anyone else. Don’t be dependent on anyone or anything. Don’t owe on a loan you can pay back in five to ten years. Parents will had one less headaches if they payed their own homeschooling out of pocket.
    Alaskans and local communities leadership are going to have make themselves get used to paying their communities and families own bills. There is coming a day when government assistance Will not be there.

    • With your logic- “Parents will had one less headaches if they payed their own homeschooling out of pocket.” (continue to pay high property taxes and stack on more financial burdens to parents for private education)

      The reality- 2/3rds of Matsu property taxes go where? Straight to public education. I have a better idea- refund that 2/3rds and let parents decide if they want their kids to go to public school or some other form of private education. Or take that 2/3rds, set up accounts for parents to decide who they want to disburse their tax dollars to (public or private).

      When the easy money ceases to flow, the NEA loses their power.

  3. Stop attacking teachers and the public education system. Alaska can vote on a Constitutional amendment with honest analysis and without the garbage culled anecdotes

    • Do you really believe Alaska’s government K12 education system has served all students well? Look at the data–in the Anchorage School District less than 38% of the kids read at grade level. And less than 38% are proficient in math at grade level. And get this, Statewide, only 32% of students are proficient in reading/writing; and less than 34% of students are proficient in math at grade level. These data are for all students. We can do better and we should for the sake of our children. I am not attacking teachers or the public (aka government) education system. I am just telling it like it is.

      • Simply go back to what worked well before 2014 when Senator Dunleavy pushed through a bill that everyone knew was unconstitutional and the BSA was funded properly.

        • Frank, so you want to go back to 2014 when Alaska 4th graders were ranked 49th out of 50 states in reading? In 2014 Alaska 4th graders were ranked 46th out of 50 states in math. So, how much more money do you want to pour into the mediocre K12 system? What impact will that have and how much of the money will go to the classroom? Not everyone knew Dunleavy’s bill was unconstitutional as you say. Why did they vote for it, knowing that?

    • Not attacking teachers. The ‘system’ is not providing quality real education and needs an overhaul. The NEA is a Marxist machine. Sorry, I will not stop speaking out. People need to hear the truth. There are many wonderful teachers and even administrators but will they do the hard things? That would be leaving the NEA. If they stay, then they are part of the problem. I am a former classroom teacher who also homeschooled our kids K-12. Homeschooling overall does a far better job than today’s brick and mortar public school. But this shenanigan by an activist judge, likely influenced (owned?) by NEA and other Marxists, has zero to do with furthering education and everything to do with power and control. Homeschooling costs a fraction of the standard (mediocre) classroom.

        • Frank, now tell us how Alaska’s Missouri-style plan for placing judges works. Isn’t the AK Judicial Council really in charge of selecting our judges? Isn’t the AK Bar really in charge of selecting our judges? Now that I think of it, we need a constitutional amendment to change that so the people elect the judges.

        • From a list provided by the leftist bar association. The governor of Alaska does not have a choice who to appoint other than the three on the list that is provided.

    • We the tax payers ask the same of the NEA. Since the education curtain was pulled back during the scamdemic, parents are realizing their children are not getting the education they paid for.

    • The teachers unions have turned themselves into a fat, inviting target. So has lawyer Kendall, whose destructive reign of lawfare in Alaska continues apace. You must be very proud. Cheers –

  4. Your phrasing is succinct and accurate, especially the term “sexual gratification books” in this bullet point:

    “Parents who disagreed with the placement of sexual gratification books in school libraries removed children from school”

    I just heard today that ASD froze all accounts, so, as you point out, contrary to what Deena Bishop recommended, parents are currently unable to be reimbursed for authorize monies spent, as well as piano teachers, etc, who have invoices due.

  5. Don’t be resentful against the NEA and their members, one day the NEA will be powerless to save education employees jobs when government money isn’t there for their contract.

    You take care of you. Get used to paying for your own expenses and manage your family spending better than how the government manages tax-payers contributions.

    Don’t be a victim. Be strong and independent.

  6. The NEA is a communist organization. They were in Juneau all winter lobbying – for money, power, and control. Teachers that truly care about teaching and real education should not join the NEA.
    Good read, NEA – Trojan Horse in American Education, by Samuel Blumenfeld.

  7. Public funds should NEVER be used to support religious schools. How hard is that to understand?

    • Paola –
      Ever stop to think that a large percentage of national tax money comes from Christians, Jews , Muslims , ect ect ?

      So what’s wrong with paying for a service regardless of religion?

      Your argument has strawman written all over it .
      No where in the constitution does it say public money cant be used to pay for a service. Even if that service is run by religious people.

      Some of those teachers in public schools are religious. Is public money going to pay the salaries of religious people and therefore support religion?
      Huh ? The judge really had his head up his bum when he thought about this.

      The public money is supporting whoever provides the best educational service regardless of religion or no religion. According to a parent’s decision.
      Never forget where that “public” funds came from . Right out of the pockets of citizens and parents the majority happen to be religious in one form or another.

      A high percentage of teachers are religious.
      Is that going to disqualify them from just payment?

    • My daughter homeschools her children, this is NOT about religion. Its about a quality education. Have you looked at scores of students in public schools vs homeschooling??

    • PERB, Public funds should NEVER be used to support sexual pervsion in libraries either. How hard is that to understand?

  8. Communising Alaska public education through the ultra-left NEA Alaska, and backed by a Left-wing judge’s decision, is another reason to pull your kids out of Alaska public schools. If enough parents do this, public schools will end up being the dump yards of education. Charter schools and home schooling will be the only place to normalize kids from the continuous assault by the lunatics who are gaining control.

    • Step 1: You need to be part of the solution, not the problem.
      Step 2: You need to get involved on a local level by going to meetings and get involved with groups that are working to overcome all of this evil.
      Step 3: Be part of the solution, not the problem. Less talk, more action.

    • Here is the solution from the Alaska House: HJR028, ‘https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89758470393?pwd=OFVTYk1yQXlkREFKVGREZG9XQXhGQT09.
      Delete this from the current constitution: “[NO MONEY SHALL BE PAID FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THE DIRECT BENEFIT OF ANY RELIGIOUS OR OTHER PRIVATE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION.]

      Add this: “however, nothing in this section shall prevent payment from14
      public funds for the direct educational benefit of students as provided by law.”

      That solves the entire problem.

      Email your legislator!

  9. The average per student spending in Alaska is $22,000 per child per year.
    Each child brings in a basic student allotment of $5960 + another $680 bsa adjustment starting this year.
    So the public school system gets $6,640 per correspondence student enrolled in their public school directed correspondence program. They allowed each child to use up to $3000 per year (some less) to be used on qualified supplies and programs. This is a net benefit to the school of $3,640 per child per year IF the child utilized 100% of the credits, which most do not. Our family alone has 8 children enrolled and my wife’s sisters have another 8 children enrolled. So this “constitutional re-alignment” of correspondence school spending will COST our small local school aprox $29,000 per year just from the loss of our family. We will NEVER enroll in public education.
    Alaska is forcing people to relocate to states where they are promoting educational freedom, not crushing it. The more the corrupt educational tyrants abuse their power, the more children will slip from their grasp.

  10. Maybe total separation is better. Used the state system for nine years and it was nine years of the Gateway school district pulling every dirty trick in the book from making sure the curriculum was a couple months late every year even though I ordered it in the first week of July, to redoing the spelling bee to make sure the homeschooler didn’t win again, to appointing a trainwreck as the correspondence director to make sure most parents dropped out since everything was an ordeal, to refusing to reimburse for allowed items, to denying children credit because their textbook didn’t have the work evolution in it, which most don’t now as it “controversial” and a problem for schools.

  11. Down to Hobson’s choice is it, David?
    .
    “Stand up to defend our children” seems vaguely unhealthy while the enemy carpet bombs what was Alaska’s vibrant, productive education landscape.
    .
    Okay, damn the platitudes, full speed ahead!
    .
    What shall we do to whom, with what, so Alaska NEA’s beaten to a pulp, never to rise again, so radical left indoctrinators, tranvestites, child molester wannabes, and corrupt school board officials are run out of town never to be seen or heard from again
    .
    …despite the fact they’re cute and cuddly and look like us and running them off might trigger the kids?
    .
    If this isn’t the objective, what is?
    .
    Surely we’re not “standing up” to rebuild our schoolhouse, brand new, pristine, just so the damn termites can start all over again?
    .
    Surely we’re not “standing up”, begging to pay into a NEA protection racket, just so NEA might let us keep our correspondence school program?
    .
    Your Light Brigade awaits, Sir David.

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