The law's critics cried foul in 2005, when documents revealed that the Bush administration paid TV and radio commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote it on his syndicated programs. The revelations led to a government-wide inquiry.
NEA wasn't too fond of the Williams deal. How, then, do they explain this?
The nation's largest teachers union has spent more than $8 million in a stealth campaign against President Bush's education reform law, paying for research and political opposition in an effort to derail it, according to a Washington think tank that supports the law.
NEA President Massa Reg doesn't quite come off sounding like a genius:
Weaver says that the NEA supports the law's goals but that it "is fundamentally flawed and changes need to be made. And nobody is more qualified to lead that effort than the people who are in the education front lines every day."
He says 86 groups have joined him to call for changes; though the union "might identify specific research questions we would like to see answered," there is "absolutely no quid pro quo" in the work it finances, he says.
Whom does this law help the most? Clearly, it's inner city kids--the law shines the spotlight on the failure of these kids, their schools, and in all probability the culture of poverty that encourages continued failure. Keeping that in mind, let's take a look at a partial list of the organizations to whom the NEA is giving money to fight this law:
Joe Williams examined U.S. Labor Department LM-2 forms, which unions had to begin filing last year, and found that the NEA spent about $7.65 million supporting a start-up lobbying group called Communities for Quality Education, which has been critical of the law. The NEA also has funded, to a much lesser extent, other groups critical of the law, including the National Conference of Black Mayors, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Harvard Civil Rights Project.
The mind boggles.