As the yearly convention of the National Education Association (NEA) approaches, it is time to reflect on the relationships that this organization and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have with their members. Much has been written about the nation’s two teachers’ unions, and the case has been frequently (and justly) made that the unions are anti-student because of their adamant positions on school choice, charter schools and teacher tenure. However, I contend that the unions are not only anti-student, they are all too often anti-teacher.
In 28 of our 50 states, a teacher is essentially forced to join a very costly union. A typical teacher in Orange County pays $922 on a yearly basis to his/her local, which then sends $611 of that amount to the state affiliate, the California Teachers Association (CTA), and $140 to the national affiliate (NEA.) One has to wonder – if the unions are so beneficial, why are teachers forced to join and to pay such hefty dues in most states? (more…)