Most of the teachers in any given state work for the public school systems in those states. Therefore most of the money paid to teachers happens in the form of tax dollars raised through property and other local taxes, state taxes and fees (fees are just another form of tax) and our federal income taxes. So the majority of the union dues paid to the teacher’s unions to which teachers must belong as a condition of their employment comes from our tax money.
As taxpayers we are required then to support the teacher’s unions and they in turn use this money to lobby our government. As a labor union they are negotiating on the premise of doing what’s best for their members as any labor union should – but they are doing it at the cost of the education system and the children trapped within it. They are also doing it with public money.
I’ve lately come to really resent sending my children to school. I have no choice – I must educate them according to law. I could send them to a private school but I’ve not found one that meets my educational philosophy. I could home school them but that presents other challenges and denies them certain opportunities as there is sometimes a social stigma attached to home schooling. The balance I’ve struck is to send them to our local school system but to be aware of what they are learning and to supplement and amend the curriculum in our home to meet my personal education requirements.
Then I read articles like this: The Long Reach of Teachers Unions.
The largest political campaign spender in America is not a megacorporation, such as Wal-Mart, Microsoft, or ExxonMobil. It isn’t an industry association, like the American Bankers Association or the National Association of Realtors. It’s not even a labor federation, like the AFL-CIO. If you combine the campaign spending of all those entities it does not match the amount spent by the National Education Association, the public-sector labor union that represents some 2.3 million K–12 public school teachers and nearly a million education support workers (bus drivers, custodians, food service employees), retirees, and college student members. NEA members alone make up more than half of union members working for local governments, by far the most unionized segment of the U.S. economy.
So if you think you don’t spend money on political campaigns – think again. For Massachusetts, the amount spent per teacher on politics is $81.24. Total spending for the year $5.7 million dollars. Millions of dollars spent to advocate for a broken system dedicated to maintaining the status quo.
Look at one of the big ticket items they spent these funds to support:
Two very large donations concerned a noneducation issue on which NEA has been active: health care. The union contributed $450,000 to Health Care for America Now (AFT chipped in another $125,000) and $275,000 to the National Coalition on Health Care (AFT, $10,000). Last year, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel was part of the labor coalition that persuaded the White House to delay the implementation of the “Cadillac” excise tax on health care coverage, but only when it applied to union members.
No wonder the local teacher’s union won’t negotiate health care concessions. They’ve got a few extra years before those unwieldy “Cadillac plans” come into the penalty phase. Once that happens then they will negotiate just enough to avoid the excise tax. And we, the taxpayer, get to pay both bills.