Teachers’ union raises dues to buy more political clout


Pop quiz:

Q: How will the most powerful union in America defend itself now that skittish taxpayers and ethical politicians have set about prying their fingers off the necks of gasping and wheezing state budgets?

A. Increase dues of course!

Things are dicey right now for the National Educationa Association (NEA) bigwigs, with state budgets and mathematics and things messing up their day. And desperate times call for… what else? An extra helping of cash to bring to their next collective bargaining session. You know, those exclusive little soirees where politicians with the power to tax are always invited and never the taxpayers themselves.

Hot air:

Faced with unfriendly legislatures and governors seeking to roll back the union’s influence, the NEA Executive Committee decided to double down – literally. It proposed raising each active member’s assessment to $20, effective in September 2011. The union’s board of directors ratified the decision, and it will go before the NEA Representative Assembly for a vote this July in Chicago. If passed, NEA’s national dues for teachers will total $178.

It’s not like the NEA bosses are going to stop bankrolling the Democratic party and dumping bazillions into such scholarly and academic bastions of learning as ACORN, the Sierra Club, GLSEN, and Planned Parenthood. So the only possible alternative is to extract more cash from their members to soothe the clammy palms of their increasingly nervous political bedfellows.

These tactics aren’t exactly a secret. Retired NEA attorney, Bob Chanin, got a standing ovation at the NEA’s 2009 annual meeting for declaring that it’s not “a vision of a great public school for every child” that makes the NEA “effective advocates,” but the “power” that they can purchase with their members’ money.

“Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary, these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.”

You can watch the video here. And so now, after colluding with other public employee unions to throttle state budgets across America, the NEA sees only one possible avenue to protect those priorities: Buy more power.

But Chanin’s “power” can only go so far. It can lay off dedicated educators while warehousing criminals in do-nothing “rubber rooms” just because they have union-anointed seniority; and it can deny parents’ choice over their kids’ education and force the poor little tykes into hope-destroying institutions of failure; and it can even indoctrinate children into leftist causes but somehow forget all about teaching them to read and write.

But it seems that the leftists never learn that all the money and power in the world can’t change the bottom line on a ledger sheets.

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