As Dick Cheney and John Edwards squared off in their pre-election debate at Case Western in 2004, three billboards in Cleveland dared the moderator to ask the candidates why taxpayers "pay $1.5 billion to label our top schools failures." The billboards, a reference to grievances against No Child Left Behind (NCLB), were paid for by Communities for Quality Education--a group financed by the National Education Association (NEA).
This is just one example that Joe Williams details in his report of how the NEA subsidizes a host of organizations that "echo" the teacher union's criticisms of NCLB. From bankrolling advocacy groups and political organizations to funding union-friendly research, the NEA's efforts to sway public opinion of the law crisscross the country, Ohio included. For example, the nonprofit Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (which keeps tabs on Ohio) has commissioned numerous studies outlining "doomsday scenarios" for schools under NCLB, studies funded by the NEA and its affiliates.
The NEA rarely publicizes these relationships, nor does the press. The result is the appearance of many "impartial" voices united against NCLB--when, in fact, they are just echoes of the NEA's.
Is it working? Polls show opposition to the law has increased from 8 to 28 percent in just two years, while percentages favoring it have fallen from 40 to 36.
At least with this report, readers can "connect the dots" for themselves, provided they keep their pencils sharpened.
To read the report, click here.