The National Education Association (NEA) reported on Friday that it had successfully recovered the remaining wreckage from a suspected spy balloon that it shot down early last week. The balloon, alleged to be owned and launched by us—the Thomas B. Fordham Institute—was spotted lingering directly above the NEA’s Washington, D.C., office.
NEA President Becky Pringle said that the teachers union intelligence community would be analyzing the debris, which is believed to contain sophisticated surveillance equipment.
“I guess arming teachers paid off after all,” shrugged Pringle in a briefing. “I didn’t like the idea at first, but our members were remarkably well-prepared to down the balloon. Now it’s time to take a look inside.”
Fordham, however, denies that the balloon had anything to do with collecting information on the nation’s largest teachers union, with which, yes, we’re often at odds over various education issues.
As Fordham president Mike Petrilli said at our recent press conference: “Fordham is a responsible think tank and has no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any other entity, no matter how obstructionist and anti-reform that entity might be. To say otherwise is to play into anti-school choice conspiracies. We were collecting data on downtown weather in the nation’s capital in order to analyze its relationship to student outcomes. I don’t want to give too much away, but we’ve got a new report coming down the pike: Think Again: Does ‘School Climate’ Literally Refer to the Weather?”
This didn’t seem to move Pringle, though, who frowned and said that Petrilli’s explanation “didn’t make any sense.” “Why,” she asked, “would a bunch of education policy wonks branch into meteorology?”
Nevertheless, the incident has exacerbated longstanding tensions between Fordham and teachers unions. Kim Anderson, the NEA’s Executive Director, reportedly postponed her highly anticipated visit to the Wawa on 19th Street, citing concerns about its proximity to Fordham’s office. And our staff barely ventures out of our homes.