Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mike Antonucci scrutinizes the teachers' unions (Education Intelligence Agency)

Jay Greene told me today about a cool web site called the Intelligence Education Agency (  Here's the quick summary:
Established in June 1997, the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA) is a private, for-profit, one-man contract research firm. EIA itself supports no particular program or specific reform but does focus on the inner workings of the teachers' unions. Its clients cover the political spectrum, from conservative public policy organizations to teacher union affiliates themselves. EIA has successfully filled requests for information from organizations and agencies in all 50 states.

EIA provides quick, accurate information to requesters concerning the public education establishment.

The guy behind IEA, Mike Antonucci, sounds like quite a character!  Below is an article about him by Education Week, which calls him "the nation's leading observer -- and critic -- of the two national teachers' unions and their affiliates."
To subscribe to his emails, send him an email at
You know he has to be good if he's getting this kind of reaction:

Mark Simon, who served for 12 years as the head of the Montgomery County Education Association in Maryland, tried unsuccessfully to get the head of the NEA's caucus for peace and justice to stop circulating Antonucci's newsletter.


"I think it's a travesty that people like Antonucci have any audience at all," fumes Simon, who considers it particularly appalling for the Californian to fill a serious need for communication among affiliates with a newsletter largely devoted to union shortcomings.


Where are the kudos when a union has done something positive? asks Simon.


Not my job, counters Antonucci. The national unions have giant machines to churn out good news, he says. He typically gives his readers the smelly stuff that leaks onto the floor.


"People now rely on me to provide that," he says without apology. "That's what I do."


Mike Antonucci scrutinizes the teachers' unions, sparking praise from some people and scorn from others.

Mike Antonucci scrutinizes the teachers' unions, sparking praise from some people and scorn from others.

In the cavernous convention hall where everyone in the crowd of thousands seems to be slipping out to get a Coke, looking for a friend, or heading for the displays, Michael Antonucci sits immovable.

Hour after daylightless hour he sits, a medium-size, mustachioed man jotting notes while what the National Education Association calls "the largest democratic assembly in the world" swirls around him. He has packed a tape recorder and a pouch of trail mix, the latter so he does not have to leave the hall until business is concluded for dinner.

At NEA conventions, like this one in Dallas a year ago, Antonucci is often alone at the draped table reserved for media types, whose fickle interests and jittery habits pull them out to the corridors and away from the convention. It's a safe bet, too, that he alone is going right back to his hotel room every night of the gathering to recount the day's proceedings for a couple thousand readers, some of whom will comment to him on his take the next day.

But, then, Mike Antonucci does what no one else does.

A hybrid of journalist and commentator who has tapped into the justly celebrated power of the Internet, the one-time U.S. Air Force navigator has made himself into the nation's leading observer—and critic—of the two national teachers' unions and their affiliates.

His weekly electronic newsletter, Communiqué, goes out to about 4,000 subscribers, and is surely seen by many more, including top union officials. Reporters for the mainstream media routinely call him when issues concerning the 2.7-million member NEA or the smaller American Federation of Teachers are afoot.

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