State Journal: Damage control; Questionable query; Union bashing

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Looking ahead to the battle over next year's state budget, officials of the Iowa Education Association recently released an analysis that claims this summer's record flooding won't deplete state coffers as much as projected.

The union's researchers estimate that the state faces about $802 million in lost farm income and $112 million in other lost income--much less than the $2.7 billion projected by Gov. Terry E. Branstad during the floods.

The union said the state is actually likely to collect some $136 million more in revenue next year than it did this year.

Officials at the North Carolina education department have come under fire for including in a package of materials for teachers a student survey with religious and other personal questions.

The survey asked students to answer "true'' or "false'' to such items as: "If I ask, my sins will be forgiven.''

Glenn Keever, a spokesman for the department, said the survey was included in a 150-page packet of optional activities sent to vocational teachers.

"It's resource matter that can be used by teachers to help kids understand various jobs and the abilities and attitudes that go along with the jobs,'' he said.

Mr. Keever said the package "never went through the proper [review] procedures'' at the state agency.

The controversy arose after a teacher in Gaston County administered the survey to a class and a parent complained.

Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism, an arm of the National Right to Work Committee, has sent some 4,000 school board members across the country a four-page letter, signed by a Colorado state legislator, that accuses the National Education Association of having a "corrupting and crippling influence'' on public education.

The letter, on state letterhead and signed by Sen. Bob Schaffer, ends with a plea for contributions.

The mailing also included a Forbes magazine article about the N.E.A. that was based largely on material provided by CEAFU.

"We thought it was a good way to alert people to what the N.E.A. is doing with the taxpayers' money and how they manipulate school boards,'' said CEAFU's coordinator, Catherine Jones.

She said the group purchased a list of attendees at a recent National School Boards Association conference from a vendor.

The president of the Colorado Education Association, Dan Morris, said the letter is "just blatant propaganda from the Right to Work Committee.''--J.M.

Vol. 13, Issue 08

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