NSEA endorses … all Democrats, but withholds endorsement for some reform-minded Dems

Victor Joecks

Of course, this isn’t a surprise. Everyone knows that the Nevada State Education Association is a hyper-partisan organization dedicated to protecting ineffective teachers and preventing proven education reforms. Their NSEA Recommended Candidate List is just further evidence of that.

(Click to see the original)

There are several races on this list where NSEA didn’t endorse a candidate. Some of those races are in strongly Republican districts, but that’s not the case in Senate Districts 1 and 13 and Assembly District 5, where Sen. John Lee, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith and Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, all incumbent Democrats, are running respectively.

So, why aren’t the hyper-partisan NSEA union bosses endorsing these Democrats?

Let’s read in between the lines here. Last year, NSEA released its Legislative Report Card. Unlike NPRI’s Legislative Review and Report Card, which graded lawmakers based on votes and had a reviewable methodology, NSEA union bosses based their report card on undefined “weighted system” and other factors like “accessibility” and “the experience of the NSEA Lobby Team.” Basically, the NSEA’s “grades” were a joke. It should be noted that a low score from NSEA is a badge of honor – it means you stood up to the biggest opponent of meaningful education reform.

Sen. Lee received an F; Assemblywoman Smith and Loop both received Ds. Speaker John Oceguera, who also didn’t receive the NSEA’s endorsement in his Congressional race, scored a D.

And why did these legislators receive those scores? Because they supported such minor education reforms as making it take three years, instead of one, for teachers to earn tenure and allowing ineffective teachers to be fired after three consecutive years of poor performance. Some of the reforms, like ending last in, first out, were subject to collective bargaining, which recently allowed CCEA union bosses to effectively gut the law and preserve seniority-based layoffs. So while these reforms were a small step forward, that’s all they were – a small step forward. But NSEA union bosses are fighting tooth and nail even these small improvements.

This isn’t just happening in Nevada. As Reuters reports, union bosses around the country are fighting to prevent reform-minded Democrats from enacting proven education reforms, all in an attempt to preserve their own political power.

The email did not mince words. It came from an officer at a California teachers union, and he was irate.

President Barack Obama’s re-election team had just hired as a spokeswoman a veteran Democratic operative who had spent the last year at a nonprofit, pushing education policies that the union did not like. …

Meanwhile, the union’s attempt to oust her [Linda Serrato] was reported by a Los Angeles Times columnist this week, sparking outrage among the emerging faction of Democrats who see teachers unions as obstructionist bullies rather than essential allies.

“They seem to be demanding a bizarre loyalty oath of every member of the president’s re-election campaign: Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of an education reform group?” said Ben Austin, an education activist and Democratic operative in Los Angeles. (Emphasis added)

NSEA union bosses did endorse four other Assembly members who received a “D” on its report card. I don’t know why the NSEA union bosses treated them differently than the legislators listed above, but I know Nevada’s parents and children hope the NSEA endorsement doesn’t limit these legislators push for real education reform.

Students vs. union. Your child vs. union bosses. An effective education for your child or dues for the Nevada State Education Association.

Those are the stakes. Those are the sides.

We stand with students.

Where will these Democratic candidates stand?