How does the teachers union stifle reform?

Did you know that the National Education Association, (NEA) the national teachers union organization, has $58 million dollars in their “Ballot Measure/Legislative Crises Fund?” Neither did I -- nor did I know that a portion of the dues forcibly collected from every Minnesota teacher goes into this hush, hush slush fund to fight education reform and innovation in the states.

Two of the most egregious examples of how this fund is used to fight state initiatives happened recently in Georgia and Oregon where millions of dollars of dues paid by teachers throughout the country are now being used to fight innovation. The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota learned recently that several years ago, the NEA charged every teacher in America with a “special assessment” of $20 per year, of which $12 is deposited into this national slush fund that is currently be used by Washington, DC union bosses to fight innovation in the states.

In Georgia, the legislature passed and Governor Nathan Deal signed into law a proposal that would establish an “Opportunity School District” for “chronically failing public schools.” This measure will appear on the ballot this November where voters will have an opportunity to approve or reject this education reform. The National Education Association announced last week that they pledged $1.5 million to fight the Opportunity District Initiative in Georgia. Those are funds on top of what resources the state’s union will use to fight this important education reform.

In Oregon, the NEA has indicated that they’re willing to spend $2 million to defeat two proposed ballot initiatives regarding public sector collective bargaining in that state. “Initiative Petition 62 would essentially do away with the state’s agency fee laws, while Initiative Petition 69 would eliminate exclusive representation for those who don’t want to be represented by the incumbent union.” Both of these initiatives strike at the heart of the union’s power which is why they’re spending an unprecedented amount of money to defeat any type of reform at the ballot box in Oregon.

Finally, the NEA indicated last week that they will send $500,000 to the Maine Education Association to support their efforts to pass a tax increase measure that will appear on their ballot this November. The Maine ballot initiative would “impose a 3% surcharge on households with income greater than $200,000.” Luckily for the highest paid employee of the Maine Education Association, his annual salary of $194,609 will keep him from paying this additional “millionaire surtax.” Not so lucky are the 70,000 Minnesota teachers who will continue to be forced to pay $20 in a special dues assessment to fight reform in the states and raise taxes.

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