The California Teachers Association plans to raise dues by $180 to fund a campaign to fight Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s education initiatives. Ed Wonk, who pays dues to the NEA, CTA and his teachers’ union local, isn’t happy that dues keep going up without teachers being consulted.

As I have said before, I actually like the ideal of teachers having an organization that exists in order to advocate improved salaries and working conditions for teachers.

But… I will only support such an organization if it is democratically-run, financially transparent, and accountable to its rank-and-file. Neither NEA nor CTA comes close to fulfilling even one of these important criteria.

Darren, also a California teacher, wants to leave a union that doesn’t represent his views, but he’ll still have to pay nearly all his union dues.

A huge ad war is underway.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Compulsory union membership or agency shops are unconstitutional. Some day the law will catch up with justice.

  2. The business community (especially through the “Business Roundtables” that seem prevalent in every state) have such disdain for the NEA and other unions that I truly believe that public education is drawing close to end. At least as we know it today.

    The problem is that I don’t believe they have the vision or forethought to look into the future and articulate what education should look like.

    I am watching with interest the responses to my post on The Super’s Blog. There have beeen some very critical business people monitoring the site. While they are against public educators and teacher unions, they have not articulated what they believe the vision for education should be.

    We shall see if they step forward and try to enlighten us.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    We all know the vision of the NEA and the unions for the future of education. We have it today – an industry that opposes any standards of performance, an industry that denies its membership political freedom, an industry that treats membership like an ATM, an industry that, like a fish, is rotting from the top, and an industry that knows it could not continue without the coercive power of political patronage.

  4. I don’t think you can equate Schwarzenegger’s proposals with an end to public education. Certainly the Gubernator doesn’t come across as a Constitutional strict constructionist. On social issues he seem annoyingly moderate. Not quite to the extent of being a RINO (Republican In Name Only) but hardly a policy-maker to set libertarian hearts beating quicker.

    As far as articulating a vision for education – how about putting the responsibility where it ought to be and the authority where it ought to be? In other words, the people who have the most credible claim to desiring the best education for kids ought to be the people who decide when the goal is being met. In case that’s too opaque, that would be parents.

  5. I don’t believe it. I agree entirely with Walter Wallis’ 2nd comment.

    Hello? Satan? You say it’s cold down there? 🙂

  6. The union is standing in the way of education reform but if we get rid of the union we’ll have to pay teachers more because part of what they get paid now is in the form of job security.

  7. I agree with Darren when he says, “I don’t understand the morality of compelling people to join an organization they don’t want to join.” I also say thanks to Walter E. Wallis for articulating my thoughts exactly in his 2nd post above.

  8. Compelling people to financially support political views with which they don’t agree is simply wrong.

    When a teachers union (such as CTA/NEA) refuses to allow its own rank-and-file members to choose their leadership in contested elections, it violates the most fundamental principle of our American democratic tradition.

    And when a union uses its influence to obtain the passage of “closed shop” laws that force those that do not wish to belong to pay the same amount of money as an “agency fee” that is equal to the union’s annual dues, the union ceases to be an “advocacy group” and becomes a legalized racket.

  9. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Prisoners don’t get to vote for warden. Break your chains.

  10. Steve LaBonne says:

    Robert, I will be 100% for paying teachers more as soon as they (and, just as importantly, the people who supervise them- we mustn’t leave that factor out of the equation) are as accountable for their work as people in other professions, so that there is a good chance the money will be spent on the right people. I think you probably agree.