Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Teacher’s Union’s Leftist Political Agenda

From the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal, via Inside the Beaver’s Dam:

. . . a list of all the liberal and leftist causes the National Education Association (an organization which most teachers in this country are forced to join) contributes to:
Under new federal rules pushed through by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, large unions must now disclose in much more detail how they spend members’ dues money. Big Labor fought hard (if unsuccessfully) against the new accountability standards, and even a cursory glance at the NEA’s recent filings — the first under the new rules — helps explain why. They expose the union as a honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students.
Among the causes getting NEA money:
  • Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
  • Amnesty International
  • AIDS Walk Washington
  • Human Rights Campaign (gay lobby group that Marquette University refused to recognize on campus)
  • National Women’s Law Center (their web site currently highlights a “pocket guide” to defeating Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito)
Much of the money is to fight off school choice, which is a huge threat to the public school monopoly.

For example, Protect Our Public Schools in Washington state got $500,000, and Floridians for All Committee (which wants “a permanent progressive infrastructure that will help redirect Florida politics in a more progressive, Democratic direction”) got $249,000 from the national NEA headquarters.

Opinion Journal then notes:
When George Soros does this sort of thing, at least he’s spending his own money. The NEA is spending the mandatory dues paid by members who are told their money will be used to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions. According to the latest filing, member dues accounted for $295 million of the NEA’s $341 million in total receipts last year. But the union spent $25 million of that on “political activities and lobbying” and another $65.5 million on “contributions, gifts and grants” that seemed designed to further those hyper-liberal political goals.
Thus as liberals are less and less able to win elections, the importance of their firmly ensconced infrastructure — in the media, in academia, in the unions, in the courts and among interest groups — increases. They are the forces of the status quo, and they have impressive resources for maintaining the status quo.


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