Entries by RiShawn Biddle

Beyond DeVos

Editor’s Note: The confirmation of Betsy DeVos was not supported by everyone committed to improving public education, and in particular, not even to everyone committed to breaking the grip of the teachers union on public education. Rishawn Biddle is someone who vehemently opposed DeVos, but is equally vehement in his condemnation of the corruption and […]

Beyond DeVos

Editor’s Note: The confirmation of Betsy DeVos was not supported by everyone committed to improving public education, and in particular, not even to everyone committed to breaking the grip of the teachers union on public education. Rishawn Biddle is someone who vehemently opposed DeVos, but is equally vehement in his condemnation of the corruption and […]

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Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy Devos – One Reformer’s Perspective

There has been plenty of discussion about U.S. Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos in the weeks since your editor wrote a series of commentaries about why reformers shouldn’t support her, much less anyone in the incoming Trump Administration. The resulting discussion and sparring among reformers over DeVos exemplifies the splits that have been developing […]

National Education Association’s $138M Political Spree

Yesterday, National Education Association filed its 2015-2016 financial disclosure with the U.S. Department of Labor — and once again, the nation’s largest teachers’ union spent big to preserve its influence over American public education. NEA spent $138 million on lobbying and contributions to supposedly likeminded organizations during its last fiscal year. That’s a 5.3 […] […]

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American Federation of Teachers Costly Staff Spending

Dropout Nation recently reported on the American Federation of Teachers’ 2015-2016 financial disclosure to the U.S. Department of Labor. As you would expect, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union spent big on influencing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her apparatchiks, as well as pouring heavily into what should be like-minded advocacy and nonprofit groups. […] Continue […]

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The National Education Association’s Stagnant Finances

As Dropout Nation reported last week, National Education Association has had to deal with declining rank-and-file numbers as well as prop up affiliates struggling with pension woes and other issues. None of this, by the way, includes the nation’s largest teachers’ union’s own virtually-insolvent defined-benefit pension. Yet as NEA has shown in its 2014-2015 financial […]

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The National Education Association’s $131 Million Influence Buying Spree

The National Education Association just filed its latest financial disclosure with the U.S. Department of Labor, and as you would expect, it spent big on its efforts to preserve its influence over education policymaking. The union spent $131 million on lobbying and contributions to what are supposed to be like-minded organizations in 2014-2015, just […] […]

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Hillary Clinton’s Teachers Union Alliance

The school reform movement was shocked last week when likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton declared to talk show host (and school reformer) Roland Martin that public charter schools fail to work with “the most challenging students”, and made other points about the schools that have no substance in fact. After all, the former […] […]

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Teachers Unions Spend $700 Million per Year Explicitly on Political Advocacy

As readers know by now, Dropout Nation determined in research released last October that National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers spend roughly $700 million per year on advocacy. This report undermined the unions’ preferred narrative that they are scrappy underdogs fighting for public schools. As you would expect, especially on Twitter, NEA’s […] […]

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American Federation of Teachers Increases Support for Progressive Pressure Groups

The American Federation of Teachers just filed its 2014-2015 financial disclosure to the U.S. Department of Labor, and as you would expect, it spent big on preserving its declining influence over education policy. The nation’s second-largest teachers’ union spent $42 million on political lobbying activities and contributions to what should be like-minded groups; this, […] […]

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Lessons for Reformers from Governor Scott Walker

Certainly there are scores of Beltway conservative reformers (and movement conservatives disinterested in education policy) who are dismayed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s decision yesterday to halt his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. After all, the onetime state legislator and former Milwaukee County Executive-turned-governor has been highly-touted by them for his success in abolishing […]

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Reformers Successfully Pressure Torlakson to Restore Access to School Performance Data

Two things can be said about California’s state government when it comes to its efforts on school data. The first? That the Golden State has always blundered when it comes to developing robust comprehensive data systems that can be easily used by families, school leaders, researchers, and policymakers. As I reported seven years ago […] […]

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