Teachers’ Union Bullies its Agenda

Leslie Carbone, writing in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, writes about the National Education Association (NEA) unions’ continued opposition to parental choice, opposition to educational reform and lavish spending of teachers’ dues money on a radical political agenda. Carbone notes:

The NEA shows no reservations about taking teachers’ union dues and spending them to spread a radical political agenda. Annual NEA dues can reach as high as $500. A little of it goes toward core union activities, like collective bargaining for contracts that keep members from having to attend after-school meetings or teach another’s class in an emergency. Some goes toward the hefty paychecks of NEA staffers, thousands of whom rake in six-figure annual salaries, far more than the teachers who pay them.

And a lot — as much as half, by some estimates — goes toward politicking. The NEA doesn’t restrict itself to lobbying on issues that directly affect education, like the No Child Left Behind Act. It doesn’t even restrict itself to weighing in on issues that indirectly affect education, like tax reform, which it sees as a threat to its own cash flow. The union lobbies on a host of unrelated issues, like statehood for the District of Columbia, even though many of its dues-payers don’t want it to.

Fortunately, teachers do have some recourse. In right-to-work states, they don’t have to pay union dues at all. And in others, while they can be required to pay dues for core union activities, they cannot be forced to pay for politicking, public relations or other non-essential union activities.

The NEA has done a solid job of stacking the deck against students, parents and teachers who want good schools. But that can change, if everyone interested in quality education stands up — and stops turning money over — to the NEA-borhood bully.