Denver education officials recently averted a strike by the local teachers union, which had made veiled threats of a walkout during the tense standoff. But in a letter published in the Rocky Mountain News yesterday, Dr. Kris Enright – the leader of another organization teachers in Colorado can join – advocated for a different approach:
The Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) believes that strikes and boycotts are detrimental to students and to the reputation of teachers as professionals. While we do not provide “envelopes of cash.to buy doughnuts for teachers passing out fliers,” we do provide advocacy, protection, and professional development resources (i.e., scholarships, classroom mini-grants, partnerships, and sponsorships). We actively support a variety of personal professional development and educational advancement initiatives which will improve teachers’ skills, their knowledge, and ultimately their profession. Such should be the primary purposes of an educator association.
Education is indeed a calling. However, professionalism is a choice.
Therefore, we applaud DPS professional educators. We encourage them to remember why they teach and hope they choose to “focus on the kids.” After all, the behavior of one teacher or a group of teachers reflects upon us all.
To be fair, Colorado’s teachers unions also provide legal protection and some avenues for professional development. But it’s a much smaller piece of what they do. PACE has a narrower focus and much smaller dues because it does not participate in collective bargaining or political campaigns.
Information on political contributions by Colorado teacher organizations has been updated to reflect campaign reports through the month of July. Here are the new totals:
Through July 30, the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and its affiliates, mostly through Every Member Option funds, have reported $450,552 in political contributions during the current election cycle – including:
- $150,000 to the 527 group Accountability for Colorado to support political candidates
- $112,975 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
- $7,125 to Republican candidates and party organizations
As usual, these records are obtained through searches on the Colorado Secretary of State campaign finance database.
Colorado education professionals, this may be your hard-earned dues dollars at work – if you belong to the Colorado Education Association that is.
According to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the National Education Association has a ton of money to spend on state political issues during this election. In the past year, among other things, the NEA has spent money to launch a constitutional convention in Hawaii, and to oppose proposed tax cuts in Florida and Massachusetts. But the Journal also notes:
Expect more of the same going forward in a state near you. “Unlike most previous years,” writes [Mike] Antonucci, “NEA finished 2007-08 with a surplus of nearly $5.9 million, which means the union will enter the 2008-09 school year with almost $20 million available to spend.” It’s a shame the NEA doesn’t spend as much money and effort trying to improve lousy schools as it does trying to keep taxes high.
Mike Antonucci reports that NEA has already granted $89,500 to the Colorado Education Association. It isn’t clear whether those funds are included in the $177,000 NEA has contributed to the issue committee Protect Colorado’s Future – which opposes a Right-to-Work ballot proposal, and supports several initiatives deemed unfriendly to business.
Learn more about how other CEA member money is spent on politics, how a refund can be requested, and what membership options teachers and other education professionals in Colorado have.
Hat Tip to Labor Pains blog