Federal File

July 11, 2001 1 min read

Quid Pro Quotes

“Is Congress owned by teacher unions?”

The answer to that loaded question, according to Choices for Children, a pro-voucher group in Grand Rapids, Mich., that used it to headline a recent press release, is, not surprisingly, yes.

“The teacher unions have pumped over $10 million into our Congress in the past seven years and gotten complete obedience for it,” the group’s chairwoman, Betsy DeVos, contended in the June 21 release. An accompanying study seeks to connect the dots between votes related to private school choice—mostly vouchers—and Federal Elections Commission data on campaign contributions.

But while Congress has rejected vouchers the past several years, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have not always gotten their way, even on school choice. Another measure Choices for Children included in its analysis— allowing tax-free savings for private school tuition, among other expenses—was approved by Congress this spring over union opposition.

The report sees a “nearly direct correlation” between union donations and votes on “educational choice.” For example, union donations were 10 times more likely to flow to senators who opposed private-school-choice, the report says.

Rebecca Fleischauer, an NEA spokeswoman, said union largess does not explain Congress’ rejection of vouchers. Congress said no, she said, because the public would rather put tax dollars into public schools, and vouchers do not increase student achievement.

Matter of Principals

Dan Quayle, take heart.

Whoever addressed the envelopes for a recent, Department of Education mailing to school principals across the country would never survive the first round of a spelling bee.

The outside of the mass-mailed, brown envelopes—a reminder to celebrate Memorial Day—said in capital letters: “ATTENTION: PRINCIPLE.”

—Erik Robelen and Alan Richard

A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2001 edition of Education Week


Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
Teaching Live Online Discussion How to Develop Powerful Project-Based Learning
How do you prepare students to be engaged, active, and empowered young adults? Creating a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to pursue critical inquiry and the many skills it requires demands artful planning on the
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Republicans Want Federal Funding Cuts to Schools Using '1619 Project'—But There's a Twist
A bill from U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton, Mitch McConnell, and others targets schools using lessons based on the New York Times Magazine series.
4 min read
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill.
Evelyn Hockstein/AP
Federal What's at Stake in a Review of Federal Sex Discrimination Protections for Students
The Biden administration's review of Title IX may prompt new guidance on how schools deal with sexual harassment and protect LGBTQ students.
10 min read
Image of gender symbols drawn in chalk.
Federal Opinion Education Outlets Owe Readers More Than the Narratives They Want to Hear
It's vital that serious news organizations challenge runaway narratives and help readers avoid going down ideological rabbit holes.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal As GOP Leaves K-12 Out of Its Infrastructure Plan, Advocates Look For Alternatives
The GOP is proposing $1 trillion in federal dollars for the nation's infrastructure, but school buildings aren't part of their proposal.
6 min read
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C.
Alex Boerner for Education Week