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The Payments That Unite Us

Mike Antonucci, Intercepts

The teachers’ unions are getting very jazzed about their national day of action on Monday. Joy Resmovits of the Huffington Post reports the American Federation of Teachers is laying out $1.2 million on the campaign:

“The unions are calling the movement a groundswell of organic support against the usurping of public schools by “corporate interests” that want to make a “market-based system of schooling” involving high-stakes testing and attacks on collective bargaining. An AFT one-pager obtained by HuffPostlists the day’s purpose as “to begin to create a national echo chamber for our vision and narrative.”

It’s organic, all right, if you define it as something that requires fertilizer to grow. I took a good look at the list of 167 endorsers of “The Principles That Unite Us” and found 52 unions. That still leaves a good group of community organizations and advocacy groups, which for curiosity sake I cross-referenced with my lists of advocacy groups that received payments from NEA and AFT national headquartersduring the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Surprise! Seventeen were recipients of AFT money that year, and four received NEA money. A quick scan of AFT’s 2012-13 disclosure report turned up an additional seven groups that cashed AFT checks. That doesn’t include groups on the endorsers’ list like FairTest who have received union contributions in the past, but not for the last two years. Nor does it include groups that may have received funds from AFT or NEA state and local affiliates.

So as you listen to the laments at Monday’s rallies, consider them just AFT’s beneficiaries singing for their supper.

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