September 5, 2007

The NEA's Latest Disinformation Campaign in East Greenwich

Donald B. Hawthorne

I wrote these words about the NEA's last disinformation campaign in East Greenwich back in 2004-2005:

Comments by National Education Association (NEA) teachers' union officials remind me of words spoken years ago by Soviet officials, whose views of the world were subsequently shown to have no connection to any form of reality.

As the union cranks up its disinformation campaign to intimidate East Greenwich residents, let's contrast their Orwellian comments in recent newspaper articles with the facts.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan's comment to Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Presidential debate, here they go again:

In information being handed out by teachers picketing the schools in East Greenwich, the NEA has made these claims about the negotiating process in East Greenwich:

  • Teachers initiated negotiations in September 2006.
  • Negotiating team met for over 30 hours during the school year between December 2006 and June 2007.
  • Mediator requested and appointed in late June.
  • School Committee unavailable for scheduled mediation until mid-August 2007.
  • Teachers have met for over 100 hours of unproductive negotiations.
Here is what I was told when I asked for a response to those NEA comments:
  • The mediator was not available to meet until August.
  • Several members of the teachers' negotiations team were unwilling to give up their summer vacation to meet in July while the entire School Committee was here ALL summer working on trying to get this resolved.
  • We have had budget discussions since October 2006. The teachers have all had input: They put in their requests, the principals submit their requests, the superintendent drafts up his budget, the School Committee looks at it, and negotiations begin with the Town Council.
  • School Committee members have spend countless hours at the State House and RIASC working on financing while NO teachers ever helped because they always assumed they would get what they want.
  • School Committee members asked for help in front of the Town Council and only 1 teacher showed up. The Town Council has cut the school budget by $1 million in the last two years as part of its efforts to be fiscally prudent. There is a 5.25% tax cap and the Town Council is responsible for ensuring we pay all our employees - school, police, fire, public works, etc.

In other words, the NEA is handing out information which contains lies.

In addition, with the tax cap and massive state budget deficits, the NEA knows the state and towns cannot pay for their outrageous demands and yet they strike to break the cap and have the state spend more. This is confirmed when you read this morning's ProJo article with these words from NEARI's executive director Bob Walsh:

We predicted this would happen...We believe this is bad government decision-making and we believe they have a responsibility to fix it. They are killing public education.

So the NEA doesn't think you are paying enough taxes in Rhode Island! We are in the top 10 states out of 50 in overall taxes paid, in property taxes paid, in spending per pupil and in teacher compensation - and Walsh's only response is that all of Rhode Island needs to pay more taxes. Is this the best he can say?

If I was a State legislator, I would be insulted beyond words that Walsh stated that the legislative leaders were killing public education because they refused to raise government spending and taxes even higher - all while the State faces enormous structural budget deficits. Where does the NEA think this money comes from?

The legislators know that it comes from the budgets of working families and retirees in the state - and have said enough! The NEA's demands are nothing short of an attempt at legalized extortion and they are willing to use our children as their pawns.

But be clear, Walsh's comments are simply the latest example of the NEA's disinformation campaign: He is trying to change the focus to the tax cap and level funding of statewide education aid so there will be less attention paid to his union's demands for 9-12%/year salary increases, only 5-10% co-pays on health insurance, $5,000/year cash payments for not using the school's health insurance plan, and rich (unfunded) pensions - the costs of which all drive budget increases in excess of the salary increases received by the taxpaying public. While leaving little money for building maintenance, curriculum development, and school supplies.

Walsh is advocating a position which lowers the standard of living for all Rhode Island residents. Put another way, the NEA is willing to first punish our children with a strike so it can then punish all taxpayers with a reduction in their standard of living. I fail to see how this is a winning strategy!

Here, in a Word document, is the September 4 press release from the East Greenwich School Committee. It contains some important information about why historical contract terms are no longer economically viable.

To allow people to get up to speed, here are the links - in chronological order - to other Anchor Rising posts about the East Greenwich teachers' strike and the NEA:

Saying "No" to Legalized Extortion
Education Partnership Reports: Learning a lot more about RI teachers' union contracts
Reflecting on Labor Unions on Labor Day
Update on the East Greenwich Teachers' Contract & Suggested Future Actions
Breaking News on Anchor Rising: East Greenwich Teachers to Strike on Tuesday
More on the Issues in the East Greenwich Teachers' Union Strike (This is a particularly important post on the substantive issues in dispute.)

See the Extended Entry below for links to blog posts documenting the NEA's 2004-2005 disinformation campaign in East Greenwich.

It was fax machines in Poland back in the 1980's that helped the Solidarity labor union get the word out and build the momentum which eventually freed people from communism.

Today, it is blogs which are getting the word out and helping liberate people from the NEA's unfree world of monopolistic control, a world only made possible by their ability to coerce dues money from the wallets of hard-working teachers.

How ironic is it that labor unions were once leaders in the fight for freedom against communism but are now on the wrong side of history fighting against freedom for working families, retirees, and our children?


One of the great things about the world of blogs is that there is ready access to history. In the last negotiations 2-3 years ago, this blog site documented the endless disinformation and bad faith actions by the NEA. Here are two of the more prominent posts from then:

The NEA's Disinformation Campaign
More Bad Faith Behavior by the NEA

And here is a summary perspective on those negotiations three years ago:

Reflections on the Negotiations

Immediately below the perspective referenced above is a complete list of all my blog posts from 2004-2005. A quick reading of them will show that the NEA's willingness to tell lies to citizens is a consistent behavior pattern.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Bob Walsh is Public Enemy #1

Posted by: John at September 5, 2007 9:41 AM

and he made himself an enemy all by himself

Posted by: johnpaycheck at September 5, 2007 9:48 AM

this could get interesting bc i dont think the eg school committee is going to cave

Posted by: johnpaycheck at September 5, 2007 9:50 AM

>> Bob Walsh is Public Enemy #1

I couldn’t agree more.

Greedy, selfish, inconsiderate, dishonest, harmful to children, disruptive to the community, and abusive to the taxpaying citizenry.

Rhode Island would be a better place if he and his kind would just go away.

Posted by: Frank at September 5, 2007 11:32 AM

Bob Walsh is public enemy #1 and his lackey Pat Crowley is village idiot #1.

"Don't you recognize when black people had to sit in the back of the bus that was the law, that was wrong?"

Hey Pat, you just compared the struggle of black people working to get civil rights to well-paid white teachers who only have to work 180 days to get full boat healthcare and pensions.

You're an embarrassment. Keep talking though. Every time you're on television or the radio you are HURTING your cause and that's just fine with me.

Posted by: Greg at September 5, 2007 11:40 AM

Logic would dictate if you have the facts and the truth on your side then you don't need public disinformation campaigns.
Today's NEA is a collection of jackals without soul.

Posted by: Tim at September 5, 2007 12:04 PM

Oh, here we go again - again: The "civil rights" canard.

Do you think the New England Patriots would be successful if they pulled out their 2004 playbook and said they were going to use the identical playbook for 2007?

The analogy holds because the civil rights play is one the NEA tried in 2004 and I wrote about it here:

I just received several telephone calls from some East Greenwich residents who were at one of the local schools, Hanaford Elementary School, today and saw that a number of teachers had placards on their cars that read:

"Bargaining Rights are Civil Rights"

Stop for a minute and ask yourself: What does that comment mean?

The placards make no sense because the teachers already have bargaining rights.

The placards make no sense in the bigger picture either. Martin Luther King, Jr. led one of the great moral causes of our lifetime, fighting so blacks could be free from lynching, other forms of murder, cross burnings, and water hoses as well as have the ability to vote and use the same parts of restaurants, buses, and bathrooms as other Americans. In other words, King led the fight to ensure blacks were no longer denied the freedoms that all Americans were entitled to as citizens of this country.

These placards [in East Greenwich] are an insult to all those freedom fighters, some of whom lost their lives in that struggle for freedom.

So what is the point of these silly placards? I would suggest that what they are doing is protesting that there is resistance in the community to caving into their unions' demands...The placards are really just a sign of how frustrated the union and teachers are because they are not getting their way. Isn't that too bad.

Just another part of their disinformation campaign where they seek to get people to stop talking about the unaffordable and outrageous economic terms of their demands.

Posted by: Donald B. Hawthorne at September 5, 2007 2:41 PM

Read The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt.


Homeschool your children.

Posted by: PDM at September 5, 2007 7:43 PM
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