> I hope this note satisfies the three people out there >in Cyberia who were still puzzled by my >neologism, "Education Mafia".*
Apparently not. Perhaps another, useful, way to think of the Education Mafia is to examine it through the lens of political lobbying.
So, everybody knows that banks, of both the commercial and investment types, are fierce competitors. And yet, no one has trouble understanding that they also share some important common interests. That is why one sees without objection, in the major news media, terms like "Wall Street" and "Banking Interests", as references to one, coherent industry group that buys influence in government.
Can we think of Big Education in the same way stupid leftists (please excuse the redundancy) think of Big Pharma or Big Oil or Banking Interests? Here is one organization who think the answer is "Yes", http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A You will observe that #5 on the list of "Top All-Time Donors" is: National Education Association.
To think that being #5 on the list is impressive enough, and that it proves the existence of an Education Mafia (which it does), is to almost miss the point. To fully comprehend the enormity of the situation one must understand that these five Top All-Time Donors are not like five mud wrestlers competing for the same prize. For example, AT&T does not butt heads with the NEA over education policy.
When it comes to political influence in education policy, no other organization is in the same league with the the National Education Association. They stand alone. In education policy, the National Education Association is the proverbial 800 Lb Gorilla. If you want to know why nothing has changed in education for the last 60 yrs, the site above lists 43.6 million reasons.
But wait! There is more. Of course, education policy is a major concern of the Education Mafia but, apart from policy, the snaggletoothed, knuckle dragging wing of the Education Mafia, aka the unions, are just another public sector union. In this regard, they are as one with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Together, since 1989 they have spent $105 million dollars on political lobbying. Together, they are by far the biggest, meanest dog in the junkyard.
Do you want to know why American cities are actually going bankrupt? Why there was a near-civil war in Wisconsin last year, or why teachers in the failed Chicago Public School system have the face to make demands? Opensecrets.org gives 105 million explanations.
Oh yes, Virginia, there is an Education Mafia (apologies to "The Sun" newspaper). And, just like their prototype, they do not get up every morning intending to hurt your children, but they will, if they feel that is what they need to do to protect their interests.