Category Archives: Public Education

Carteret County Board of Education Continues to Lie?

Recent articles printed in the Carteret News Times by the Carteret County School System sadly continue to mislead the public about the real school system employment numbers. One might expect the Carteret News Times to vet the claims of the School Board before printing without comment articles that inflate low budget numbers and high layoff numbers.


According to the NC Department of Public Instruction, the number of state-supported public education personnel increased by 4,720 over the previous year. But the Carteret County School administration under the direction of Superintendent Dan Novey and the Carteret News Times continues to mislead the public on the actual status of the school budget and the personnel status.


Read more at the NC Civitas site on

Preliminary DPI Personnel Data Shows Increase in State-Supported Education Jobs

Gallup Poll: Americans Turning Against Teachers’ Unions, Turning on to Public School Reform

by Education Action Group

OMAHA, Neb. – An annual poll regarding the U.S. public education system shows that teachers’ unions are losing support among Americans, while the percentage of people that support school reform has reached a record high.

The results underscore the growing momentum behind efforts to expand school choice programs, improve the quality of instruction, and inject accountability into teacher evaluation and compensation.

The 43rd annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools is a fair measure of public opinion, experts agree, with the exception of a poorly framed question on school vouchers which produced questionable results.

Union Power

The poll results show that nearly half of the 1,000 American adults polled about the influence of unionism in schools believe it is hurting public education.

“In 1976, the PDK/Gallup Poll asked Americans if teacher unionization helped, hurt, or made no difference in the quality of public school education in the United States. Back then, only one in four Americans believed teacher unions helped, but a relatively large number (13%) were undecided,” according to the report.

“Today, one in four Americans still believe teachers unions help, but almost one of two Americans believes that teacher unions hurt public schools.”

In other words, the undecided have decided that unions are a toxic influence on public schools. A total of 47 percent of those polled said teachers unions have hurt schools.

Patrick Semmens, Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Foundation, said the poll shows that “The public is increasingly realizing that teacher union bosses have for years put forced dues and union power ahead of what’s best for students and teachers.”

Effective teaching

The public’s growing distaste for teachers unions is also illustrated in its support for measures that run counter to union interests or policy. For example, poll respondents believe that teacher salaries should be based on several factors, including performance, evaluations, education level and experience, instead of the union model, which is based largely on seniority.

A combined 87 percent of Americans believe that principal evaluations should be a very important or somewhat important factor when determining a teacher’s salary, according to the poll.

The poll also revealed that Americans believe those evaluations are equally important when determining teacher layoffs.

“Teacher layoffs based on seniority (last hired-first fired) is the general practice in most school districts across the country,” according to the PDK/Gallup report. “We discovered that Americans believe that school districts should use multiple factors to determine which teachers should be laid off first, but, of the options presented, Americans believe the principal’s evaluation of a teacher’s performance should be given the most weight.”

More than half of those who responded also support the release of information on how the students of individual teachers perform on standardized tests. That means that state lawmakers in Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Idaho, and numerous other states who are moving toward a more performance-based system have the public’s support.


The one-size-fits-all union model of public education could also be losing favor among the public, with the vast majority of those polled supporting measures to provide teachers more flexibility.

For decades, union contracts have slowly become overgrown with work rules that stifle creativity and innovation in the classroom, often dictating how, when and where educators can teach students. But an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that natural teaching talent, and flexibility in teaching methods are key to a productive education.

According to the PDK/Gallup survey, a whopping 70 percent of those polled believe that natural talent has more to do with the ability to reach students than college training, and 73 percent favored giving teachers flexibility in the classroom, rather than forcing a prescribed curriculum.

The theme of choice, for teachers and parents, is something that resonates with the public, said Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“ … Just as most poll respondents want teachers to be free to select materials and strategies, 74% support allowing families to choose which public schools in the community the students attend, regardless of where they live,” Nathan wrote in The PDK/Gallup report. “These responses are consistent with empowering educators to decide how they teach. Some educators want more respect, but oppose allowing families to choose among district and charter public schools.

“Strong majorities of the public, wisely, I think, support both educator and family choice.”


The PDK/Gallup poll shows that public approval of charter schools is at a record high since the group began tracking this topic a decade ago, with young and conservative Americans among the strongest supporters.

“Americans continue to embrace the concept of charter schools. This year’s poll shows an approval rating of 70 percent, the highest recorded since the question was first asked 10 years ago,” according to the PDK/Gallup report.

That support has increased 10 percentage points since 2007 alone.

We believe the public support for charters and flexibility in teaching methods go hand in hand. For decades, self-interested teachers unions have stifled efforts to expand choice in public schools by opposing the establishment of innovative public charter schools and establishing rigid contract language that hamstrings educators to a one-size-fits-all model of instruction.

Teachers unions stifle choice because it threatens the industrial-style model that has allowed them to gain control over public schools and steer funds into their coffers.

Public charter schools are typically non-unionized and are exempt from many of the contractual labor restrictions imposed on teachers at traditional public schools. As a result, innovation and creativity is the norm, rather than the exception.

Americans are clearly recognizing that the new approach to public education is working. On the general topic of school choice, 74 percent of respondents supported allowing students and their parents to choose which public schools to attend, regardless of where they live.


While the public clearly supports school choice, the PDK/Gallup question on vouchers revealed results that are startlingly inconsistent with other polls, with 34 percent favoring vouchers and 65 percent opposing.

The question asked: Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense?

Paul DiPerna, research director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, explained that unlike the rest of the PDK/Gallup poll, the poorly worded question on vouchers has produced results inconsistent with other surveys over the years.

“’At public expense’ makes it a loaded question. Not only is it a loaded question, they don’t give a proper definition of what a voucher program does,” DiPerna said. “That can contribute to lower response favorability.

“It’s just this one particular area of the poll, it’s just so different from the rest of the survey.”

DiPerna said that other, properly framed polls on vouchers show public support as much as 30 percent higher than the PDK/Gallup results. A Friedman study on the PDK/Gallup question revealed that tweaking the wording of the question increased favorability from 41 percent to 63 percent in 2004. The following year the same study showed an increase from 37 percent to 60 percent, DiPerna said.

“With our research at the state level, typical favorability has ranged from the mid 50s to the low to mid 60s,” he said, adding that the difference between the PDK/Gallup results and other studies has to do with how well the poll explains what a voucher is.

“Most people aren’t well versed in public policy issues. The average (citizen) just doesn’t have much information on the issues,” DiPerna said. “That makes it all the more important to have the proper framing. They are highly sensitive to the bias of the wording.

“The other results (of the PDK/Gallup poll) make sense, and are consistent with the polling we do at the state level.”


via BigGovernment

Presentation to the Carteret County Board of Education, 6/28/2011

School Board Speech by Eric Broyles

Members of the School Board, Superintendant Novey, and citizens of Carteret County.  The greatest gift, other than life, we can give a child is a quality education.  I have come tonight to talk on that subject.  An education prepares a child for life endeavors and the future, whatever their course may be.  Before starting, I would like to recognize Principals and Teachers at Harkers Island Elementary, Tiller School, White Oak Elementary, Broad Creek Middle, and Croatan High that contributed to making these schools top in their scholastic field by delivering a quality education to our children.  In 2010, all of these school finished scholastically in the top 10 percentile within their respective school categories statewide.  Special recognition goes to the Tiller School, one of our charter schools, which finished scholastically within the top 2 percentile in the state.  These are our schools of scholastic excellence within the county. I await the reporting of our schools scholastic results for 2011.

Even though some of our schools achieved scholastic excellence in 2010, I am deeply concerned about the quality of education some of our children are receiving within Carteret County Schools.  In 2010, we have 7 schools (e.g. – Atlantic Elementary, Beaufort Elementary, Smyrna Elementary, Beaufort Middle, Newport Middle, East Carteret High, and West Carteret High) performing in the 25% to 50% percentile scholastic performance range in their respective school categories.  Atlantic Elementary is ranked 387, Beaufort Elementary is ranked 551, and Smyrna is ranked 427 out of 1350 North Carolina Elementary schools.  Beaufort Middle is ranked 217 and Newport Middle is ranked 180 out of 617 North Carolina Middle schools.  West Carteret High is ranked 153 and East Carteret High is ranked 260 out of 563 North Carolina High Schools.  From 2005 to 2010, based on the ABC End-of-Grade Tests reported by N.C. Report Cards, Atlantic Elementary saw a 11% decline in overall student Reading test scores; Beaufort Elementary a 11.4% decline in Reading test scores;  Smyrna Elementary  a 9.5% decline in Reading test scores and a 6.8% decline in Math Scores; Beaufort Middle a 6.6% decline in Reading test scores; Newport Middle a 12.9% decline in Reading and a 1.9% decline in Math scores; East Carteret High saw a 1.9% decline in English 1 scores, a 9.7% decline in Algebra 1 scores, and a 7.4% decline in Physical Science scores; and West Carteret High saw a 1.5% decline in English 1 scores, and a 9.7% decline in Algebra 1 scores.  During the same time period, Carteret County School District saw a 9% decline in overall Reading scores but a 16.3% increase in Math scores for both elementary and middle schools.  The area of scholastic achievement that should concern us all is the gradual decline of Reading test scores being seen across the board in most schools.  If our children cannot read or write then how will they be able to perform and compete in a highly competitive and technological society?  In the near future, I will be asking our County Board of Commissioners to establish an independent board of non-school employed citizens whose sole purpose is to conduction independent literacy testing every 4 years at the 4th and 8th grade level to make sure the students within our county are receiving adequate training in reading and writing skills. We do not want a reoccurrence of what happened in Detroit where 44% of the tested citizens were found to be functionally illiterate.

Presently, 8,578 students attend Carteret County Schools.  The student to teacher ratio for Carteret County Schools is 12.08 to 1, which happens to be one of the higher school system students to teacher ratios within the state and nation.  This ratio is based on 710 full time teachers, which is an increase over the previous year .  This ratio does not factor in the 178 assistant teachers that are available to support the full time teachers.  If it did, the ratio would be closer to 9.6 to 1.  Currently, Carteret County ranks number 12 out of 115 school districts in the amount it expends for each student’s education.  In other words, Carteret County taxpayers are paying approximately $700 more per student versus the average amount spend by other counties in North Carolina to make sure its students receive a high quality education.  This would lead one to naturally draw a conclusion that the majority of our schools and school district should be performing in the top 10 to 15 percentile in the state, considering the financial resources and teacher manpower the taxpayers have committed to the education of our children.  Even though some schools are performing at a high level of excellence as stated above, almost half the school district is not.  It is unacceptable to the taxpayers and the parents of the students attending these seven schools, which are performing in the 25% to 50% percentile range.  This leads one to believe that it is not the number of teachers employed by a school system that leads to scholastic achievement and excellence, but the quality of its teachers and the training dispensed by them.  Maybe it is time to hirer and pay more for Quality teachers and be less concerned with the number of teachers we employ.

During the last school board hearing, I asked that the overall ABC End-of-Course scores and student to teacher ratio be posted by teacher on the School System Website.  Each teacher and school principal performance should be accountable to the taxpayers and parents of school children.  Furthermore, based on the need for an increase in scholastic performance within the seven schools mentioned above, I respectfully request that the Superintendant and School Board conduct a full performance review and audit of those 7 schools and make the necessary personnel adjustments and etc. to assure these schools and their students can also achieve the same level of scholastic excellence like the Tiller School, Whiteoak Elementary, Broad Creek Middle, and Croatan High.  It is time to raise the bar!  The taxpayers and parents of school children demand more, and our students deserve much more than some of them have received.  It is time to give all of our children a quality education!  GOD bless our children, our educators, and all citizens from wherever they hail from!

2012 Board of Education Elections

These School Board Members are up for reelection in 2012. We need to research their positions in terms of our Tea Party principles of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets that promote U.S. products, businesses, and labor.

Vice Chair: Al Hill
688 Roberts Road, Newport, NC 28570
Phone: 223-5234
Years on board: 5; District 2; Term expires: 2012
Occupation: Owner of Cedar Creek Resort, LLC of Newport; Retired Line Superintendent with Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative
Education: Graduate of West Carteret High School; Attended Craven Community College
Current Board Areas of Oversight: Plant Operations, Transportation, Buildings and Grounds, Architect Selection, New Construction
Other involvements: Chairman of Newport Board of Adjustment (23 years), West Carteret High School Band Boosters and Athletic Boosters; Member and Past Master Newport Masonic Lodge 706; member American Legion Post 46 Morehead City; Newport Board of Adjustment (19 years); Glad Tidings Church; Newport Elementary School Parent Advisory Council (2 years); Soccer coach for Newport Middle School 2002-2003; Soccer coach Seashore Soccer League (14 years), Cancer Relay for Life participant

David Carr
1611 Sanderling Drive, Morehead City, NC 28557
Phone: 240-2649
Years on board: 5; District 4; Term expires: 2012
Occupation: Vice President, North Carolina Employee Benefits Division, BB&T Insurance Services, Inc.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics and bachelor’s degree in business management from North Carolina State University
Current Board Areas of Oversight: Political Liaison, Budget and Finance, Policy Review
Other involvements: Member First Presbyterian Church, Morehead City; former Chairman of School Advisory Council, Morehead City Primary School; member of Lookout Rotary Club; Board of Directors of Morehead City Little League

Shelley Sylivant
2202 Cambridge Downs Dr., Morehead City, NC 28557
Phone: 342-6676
Years on board: first year; District 3; Term expires 2012
Occupation: Department of Navy Project Engineer
Education: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University; master’s degree in business administration from Liberty University
Current Board Areas of Oversight: Technology, Policy Review, New Construction, Architect Selection
Other involvements: Former Carteret County high school math teacher; volunteer tutor; member of multiple civic organizations; member of Glad Tidings Church

Presentation to Carteret County Board of Education, June 7, 2011

My name is Eric Broyles of Morehead City. I am the Vice Chairman of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots.  I appreciate you allowing me to speak tonight.  The greatest gift a parent, community, or nation can give a child is a quality education.  A quality education not only prepares an individual for the future, but is an investment into the future success of a society or nation.  There are several elements that determine an individual’s quality of learning and education, which are:

·    Nutritional meal
·    Quality Teacher
·    Parental support and coaching
·    Lesson plan and learning materials
·    Educational setting

I am sure there are many more elements that can be added to the list, but the first two are the most important.  A hungry child does not learn and a bad teacher does not educate.  Now onto the main purpose of this speech, which address school system accountability and reporting of information to parents and taxpayers.

Over the past several months, we have heard a lot of discussion from both sides of the aisle about classroom sizes and how it impacts the quality of education our children receive.  Yet when you visit Carteret County School Boards website, it becomes a challenging adventure for any citizen to obtain information on class sizes and scholastic performance at the classroom/teacher level.  I do not know why the information is not openly and readily disclosed, but parents and taxpayers alike have a right to know the overall scholastic performance of a class and its teacher.  Individual student testing and performance information should never be released in accordance with current regulation or privacy laws.

As a taxpayer and parent, I am asking that our School Board and superintendent publish the classroom size statistics and overall scholastic scores of teachers in an easily accessible and readable format yearly on its website.  This will create a level of accountability at the public and tax payer level.  We do not want another Detroit, where 47% of the population is estimated to be functionally illiterate.  Openness and full disclosure has always been the best policy.  As many speakers pointed out the other night at the Commissioner’s meeting, we owe this to our children and their future prosperity.

Presentation to Carteret County Commissioners, June 6, 2011

Commissioners & Fellow Citizens,

My name is Eric Broyles of Morehead City, North Carolina.

On a previous occasion, I spoke about the negative impact that raising taxes or fees at this time would have on senior citizens and the unemployed, who are on fixed or limited incomes.  They represent approximately 30% of the county.  Both citizen groups have seen food, basic commodities, and gas prices spiraling up over 100% in the past several years.  Based on school board statistics, 41.4% or 3,561of our school students are on free or reduced meals because their parent(s) cannot afford to provide lunch for them.

Currently, there is a lot of propaganda out there about the poor quality of education our students will receive if we increase class sizes.  Many studies like the “Brooking Institute Brown Center Study on Class Size” and “A Lesson in Smaller Class Sizes” by Nina Rees clearly imply a small increase in class size would have a negligible impact on the quality of education a student receives.  Most studies point to the fact that the quality of the teacher is the most important element in how well a child learns.  To take it one step further, Dr. Matthew Chingos, who obtained his PH.D. from Harvard University, states “Investing less in Class Size Reductions would free up resources that could be used to recruit and retain highly effective teachers”.  I think history has already deflated the claims of those advocating class size as the chief determining factor in the quality of education an individual receives considering the technological, scientific, and medical advances of my father’s and my generation, whose average class size was 25 or more students.  The same generation many of you are in.

Today, we have a group of citizens advocating the full funding of the school budget, which will eventually result in tax increases.  They want to raise taxes on the financially hard pressed citizens who are on fixed or limited incomes.  Some of these citizens cannot even afford to provide their own child a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich for their school lunch.  I cannot see the benefit in raising taxes to save 100 teachers jobs, while 1/3 of our community is struggling just to buy food, medicines, utilities, and afford housing.

During difficult economic times, government like citizens and businesses, must tighten their belts and reduce spending.  To do otherwise, would be unwise, reckless, and fiscally irresponsible.  I am in full support of the budget currently proposed by the Commissioners because it best protects the interest of all citizens.

Requesting Your Attendance

TEA Party = Taxed Enough Already Party

Three important events that may impact your NC tax liability in the future:

June 6, 2011 – Carteret County Board of Commissioners Meeting in Beaufort at 6 PM, Schedule. The Board will be finalizing the county’s 2012 budget. There is a well organized effort to convince the board to increase spending in education without providing any evidence that the increase will actually benefit the education of students. The proposed increase will result in increased local taxes (e.g., property, sales, etc) if passed as proposed by this well-organized group.
June 7, 2011 – Carteret County Board of Education Meeting in Beaufort at 6 PM, Schedule. The agenda will undoubtedly involve the Carteret County School budget, and will be attended en mass by organizers of groups supporting higher spending in education. A few members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots plan to attend and at least one will speak against increased spending without supporting evidence that the spending will actually improve student education.
June, July, sometime 2011 – The NC Legislature will send a 2012 budget bill to Governor Perdue. Although, there seem to be some compromises in the works, the legislature and Governor Perdue are still far apart, especially on funding education. Governor Perdue’s approach is to push traditional state-funded cost to the counties so she can pretend to be saving money while forcing the counties to raise taxes to fund items that heretofore have been by state taxes. This slight-of-hand by Governor Perdue has the same impact on NC citizens, which is increased taxes that you pay either as state income tax increases, or local tax increases (e.g., property, sales, etc).

The other side is organized. Your voice must be added to the chorus of Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots who want Fiscal Responsibility from our elected officials. Please attend Board of Commissioners Meeting on June 6th. Arrive early to get a seat in the main meeting room. The other side will be there in force. Don’t let them over-shadow your voice.

Also, consider attending the Board of Education meeting on June 7th. Support the CCTPP members speaking out for fiscal responsibility.

Finally, let your Carteret County legislatures know you support their efforts to control state spending. While they are making every effort to hold the line on spending, they are being bombarded by those who believe solving problems means spending more taxpayer dollars. Let them know you don’t believe that money unwisely spent will solve anything.

The Intolerent Left

Some typical comments from the Carteret County Concerned Citizens for Education FaceBook page:


Hitler convinced a country to murder 10 million innocent people. We can save 10 million childrens minds-your one voice can make a difference. Please let us hear you…


Tea partiers seem keen to cut anything without regard to the needs of our community. It is not ‘pushing for more and more spending’ (their sentiment) when we resolve to continue support for public education. The economic security of our children depends on the preparedness we provide them today. It is our responsibility. One generation does this for the next to insure the continuity of society. The same as was done for us, we must do for our collective future. Cutting the school budget and reducing the quality of their education is truly balancing the books on the backs of our children.


It seems some of the folks in this group have trouble figuring out that ‘spending more money’ does not necessarily equal ‘better education.’ And at least one of them is extremely lacking in knowledge about World War II.

Carteret County Concerned Citizens for Education

The liberal faction of Carteret County citizens keeps pushing for more spending in education. There is absolutely no data to support more spending equals better education. In fact, there is more data that shows the opposite is true. Smarter application of resources and better curriculum strategies would equal better application of taxpayer’s dollars. Go to the C4 Facebook page to see what the opposition is up to. It’s amazing how easily they spend your money!

“We Are at War” – NEA’s Plan of Attack

via Hot Air


posted at 1:26 pm on March 23, 2011 by Mike Antonucci

With the situation in Wisconsin stabilized, if not settled, there is time to examine the National Education Association’s strategy for its short-term future. Though reasonable arguments can be made that the collective bargaining measures in Wisconsin, Ohio and Idaho aren’t significantly different from the status quo in other states, there should be no mistake about it – NEA sees them as a threat to its very existence.

The reasons are not hard to understand. NEA has enjoyed substantial membership and revenue growth during the decades-long decline of the labor movement. It is now the largest union in America and by far the largest single political campaign spender in the 50 states.

But after some 27 years of increases, NEA membership is down in 43 states. The union faces a $14 million budget shortfall, and the demand for funds from its Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund is certain to exceed its supply. Even the national UniServ grants, which help pay for NEA state affiliate employees, will be reduced this year.

In the past, NEA has routinely faced challenges to its political agenda, mostly in the form of vouchers, charters and tax limitations. But the state legislative and gubernatorial results in the 2010 mid-term elections emboldened Republicans for the first time to systematically target the sources of NEA’s power, which have little to do with education and everything to do with the provisions of each state’s public sector collective bargaining laws.

Hence the Manichaean battle in Madison. There has been a virtually non-stop expansion of the scope of public sector collective bargaining over the past 35 years. If the tide turns, it may take a lot longer than 35 years to get those privileges back.

“We are at war,” incoming NEA executive director John Stocks told the union’s board of directors last month, outlining a plan to keep NEA from joining the private sector industrial unions in a slow, steady decline into irrelevancy to anyone outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. And like any good war plan for an army under siege, it allows for a defense-in-depth while preparing for a decisive counterattack.

The first line of defense is to stop anti-union legislation at its point of origin. The Wisconsin Education Association Council tried to head off Gov. Walker’s bill with its “bold reforms” campaign. After the bill was introduced, there were massive rallies, sit-ins, and Democratic senators fleeing the state, along with various other parliamentary maneuvers.

The second line of defense is judicial. In Wisconsin, the public sector unions have already stalled the implementation of the collective bargaining bill through court order. But that isn’t the only place. NEA successfully blocked a new law preventing its Alabama affiliate from collecting dues through payroll deduction. Even if these court battles fail, the time consumed will enable NEA to prepare its third line of defense, which is electoral.

Recalls are not out of the question, but it’s more likely that NEA and other public sector unions will seek to ride an increase in activism and a perception of GOP overreach into large victories in 2012. Whatever hostile laws slip through the first two lines will be eliminated by new majorities of union-friendly Democrats.

While arguably weaker than in years past, NEA is still a political powerhouse, and will not be content with lying against the ropes, being pummeled by Republicans. Union officers are smart enough to recognize that the best use of its resources is in the states, rather than in Congress and the White House. Rommel once observed that “the battle is fought and decided by the quartermasters before the shooting begins.” NEA will see to it that its state affiliates are supplied with all the ammunition they need.

Despite its budget shortfall and freeze on executive pay, the national union is flush with cash, and aims to double the size of its political war chest. The bulk of this money will go to the state affiliates, though the national union will have a larger hand in how it is disbursed.

We can expect the state affiliates to spend most of it opposing unfriendly bills and initiatives, but with more money available, there will still be plenty left to fund measures like the proposed capital gains and income tax hikes in Massachusetts.

The need to modify the budget to accommodate reduced revenue actually works in NEA’s favor in a crisis. Just as with government budgets, reductions in NEA budgets tend to cause squawking from the recipients of those funds. In today’s atmosphere, the union will be able to reallocate money to its foremost priorities with little pushback from internal constituencies.

NEA’s growth in membership and political influence over the years has been accompanied more recently by increasingly bad press. In response, the union will be “building a new external narrative about NEA as dedicated to improvement of the profession, student success and social justice.”

Historically, NEA has been slow to embrace new technologies, but the new external narrative requires prominence on the Internet and social media. The NEA message will naturally appear in all its publications – electronic and otherwise – but with a need for rapid response there will be emphasis on the union’s Education Votes web page and its associated Facebook and Twitter outlets. We will also see a greater presence by NEA’s officers in the blogosphere.

Accompanying NEA’s PR strategy will be new research on pensions, tenure and teacher evaluations, collective bargaining and, of course, funding.

Finally, NEA recognizes that its success or failure relies on feelings of solidarity from AFT, private sector unions, and parents. It will downplay differences on side issues in order to gain support on its priorities.

Whether NEA can do all – or any – of these things is an open question. My own judgment is that the union is better as an immovable object than an irresistible force. It is much more likely to successfully stymie its opponents’ initiatives than it is to successfully prosecute its own course of action.

Ultimately, the Republican governors, lawmakers and activists have their work cut out for them. They will be met with defiance, roadblocks, stalling, foot-dragging and subterfuge for as long as these proposals work their way through the legislative process and long after they become law. In the end, NEA may help elect friendly politicians who will restore their lost powers and revenues.

But the same tactics that may gain such victories will negatively affect the union’s public image. Win or lose, NEA’s actions will “build an external narrative” that no PR strategy can alter. The outcome of NEA’s war is still very much in doubt, but that battle has already been decided.