NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teacher Unions Go Political

September 24, 2003

Teacher unions are advancing political agendas on the national, state and local levels by donating large amounts to partisan organizations and lobbying for bills that would violate schools' political neutrality, says Robert Holland of the Lexington Institute.

For example:

  • The National Education Association (NEA) is spending up to one-third of its $271 million annual budget on politically related activities.
  • That includes almost $50 million a year funding UniServ, an advocacy group that screens political candidates and then campaigns for their elections.
  • In Illinois, the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers have donated $3.1 million to campaigns and are lobbying to lower the tenure waiting period to two years, despite experts' warnings that K-12 tenure laws protect only bad teachers.

The powerful California teachers' unions are supporting Assembly Bill 503, which would allow teacher unions to use public schools' facilities and supplies for political campaigning directed at school personnel.

Source: Robert Holland (Lexington Institute), "Teacher Unions Promote a Political Agenda," School Reform News, July 2003, Heartland Institute.


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