I rarely laugh out loud at Albuquerque Journal headlines, but I did this morning. The headline was “Education Group Protests SF Contract.” What a euphemism! The National Education Association (NEA) is not concerned with “education.” It’s concerned with getting more money out of taxpayers. It does as all government employee unions do: by convincing politicians to hire more dues-paying teachers, limiting competition, increasing pay and benefits for its members, and supporting friendly politicians who will give them MORE.
The case from Santa Fe is a classic example. As the story notes, Santa Fe Public Schools have a new program designed to get dropouts back on track for a diploma. The rub is that they’ve hired a private company (heaven forbid) to run the program. Implied, but not stated in the story is that the teachers in the program are unlikely to be unionized.
The union cites a provision in New Mexico’s Constitution which states that “public schools, colleges, universities and other public educational institutions “shall forever remain under the exclusive control of the state,” and that no part of the funds “shall be used for the support of any sectarian, denominational or private school, college or university.” To say the least, this is a provision of New Mexico’s Constitution worthy of changing, but there will likely be a legal battle over whether it makes the school illegal or not.
The more important thing is that the NEA is attempting to deny students who are not being served by traditional schools a different option for their educational services because the program in question does not serve the selfish needs of the union.
Interestingly enough, an “important” provision of New Mexico’s Constitution is ignored on a daily basis in New Mexico schools. Sec. 8 states “The legislature shall provide for the training of teachers in the normal schools or otherwise so that they may become proficient in both the English and Spanish languages.” I don’t know how many of New Mexico’s teachers are fluent in Spanish, but I have met several teachers who taught in government schools and I don’t believe they spoke Spanish.