Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Shocked and Awed. And Dismayed. And Disgusted.

I just finished reading the EIA special report on the audit the AFT did on their staff using a Chicago-based firm, Cleverspin.

I came away with mixed feelings.

First, you could say it's a good sign that Ed McElroy (AFT President) or his cabinet (so to speak) commissioned the report. The fact that they want to listen to what is being said about the mission of their organization and how it is being handled by their staffers is a good thing. An institution of the nature and stature of AFT being as honest as they should be about the inner workings (or deficiencies) of their organization is good. How many corporations encourage that kind of honesty?

As a counterpoint to my first point, why do you have to hire a public relations firm to get this survey done? I suppose the pat answer would be to find out what's going on. However, on the flip side of things when you've got to pay money (dues money paid by hardworking teachers like me) to figure out that your organization is dysfunctional and doesn't communicate well within the national structure or with it's state affiliates then it is truly a sign that you have lost any and all touch with the reality of your rank and file.

Second, how in the heck did that study get out, and to Mike Antonucci of all people? Note the part of his post where he states "Cleverspin assured interviewees that while their comments would be culled and quoted for the report, it would be done without attribution. EIA has obtained not only the updated interim report, but also audio files of those interviews – with the interviewees' names attached. After listening to 34 hours of candid conversations between Kemmerer and AFT employees of all ranks, EIA has determined that no purpose would be served in identifying the individuals by name. EIA will abide by Cleverspin's promise of anonymity and will quote staffers without attribution or identification."

I want to make some kind of a snide comment here, but at the same time I realize that the attribution of comments to particular people would be nothing less than even more destructive than the wholesale release of the report. So Mike, you and I disagree often-- but the anonymity thing is pretty classy, given the fact that we do live in the "A Current Affair" state of journalism. Though I still ask the question, how did you get it? Of course, a good reporter never names their sources. (And no, I'm not saying you're a good reporter, Mike.)

So Mike, I think you should respond to my post. I dare ya.

UPDATE: Mike responded to my post, I responded back and encouraged someone from the AFT to write back in this post.

1 comment:

Mike Antonucci said...

Hi. I rarely respond to dares, but I did want you to know that I alerted AFT to the release of the report beforehand, and explained to them how I got the information.

I don't mean to be mysterious, but it would be counterproductive to reveal it publicly. Suffice it to say, my receipt of the material was due to a monumental blunder.

Thanks for the kind words. My aim was to write the best story I could based on the material, not to get employees in trouble for saying what they really thought. It was an easy decision to maintain their anonymity.

Best regards,

Mike Antonucci
Education Intelligence Agency


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