Teachers and other education employees who belong to a union affiliated with the Colorado Education Association automatically contribute a portion of their dues to the NEA headquarters in Washington, D.C. ($166 per full-time member in 2010-11). As the Education Intelligence Agency reports in the latest edition of the Communique, it looks like that figure is going up again for the coming school year:
Beginning this year, NEA will collect a $20 special assessment from each active (meaning, working) member – up from $10 in previous years. In accordance with the union’s bylaws, only 60 percent of the roughly $40 million raised is directed to the [Ballot Measures/Legislative Crises] fund. The other 40 percent goes into the union’s Media Campaign Fund.
Though mutually supportive, the Media Campaign Fund money is disbursed to NEA state affiliates through a separate application process from the BMLC fund. However, while almost all of the BMLC fund is sent to state affiliates, only 20 percent of the Media Campaign Fund leaves Washington, DC. The remainder is kept by NEA for national media projects, as well as distribution to a handful of media partners.
Unless NEA is cutting back its dues appropriations to other areas — highly unlikely — that means at least a $10 increase for teachers this year. As the Communique reports, some of that money goes to Media Matters for America, which describes itself as a:
progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
Do Colorado teachers believe that is the best use of their dues money — which for many CEA/NEA members totals more than $750 a year?
Most teachers union members in Colorado are affiliated with the National Education Association, but a smaller (though significant) number belong to the American Federation of Teachers. Some of that AFT dues money goes to national headquarters. How is some of that money spent?
The Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci highlights some news from Iowa: teachers in the Earlham and Moravia school districts recently decertified their unions, so they are no longer affiliated with the National Education Association or Iowa State Education Association. The non-union Professional Educators of Iowa noted that it was the first time two districts in the state had decertified in the same week or even in the same year.
The event certainly isn’t a first, nor is it isolated to the state of Iowa. Learn more about the local-only union option here on our Independent Teachers website.
Member of a local teachers union in Colorado? Then most likely (unless you belong to the AFT) $166 of your dues this year is going straight to National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C. What is some of your money used for — when not funding negative political ads during election season, that is?
Back in September we noted that Colorado teachers unions (the Colorado Education Association and American Federation of Teachers) had reported giving a combined 99.8 percent of their political contributions from member dues to the Democratic Party and its candidates, as well as pro-Democrat organizations, in the 2009-2010 election cycle. These contributions only cover state and local political races.
Well, at least through October 28 of this election cycle (all but the last five days of the campaign), the final figure for the share of CEA and AFT political giving going to Democrats is 99.9 percent of more than $1.5 million total — including more than a quarter million to the 527 group Accountability for Colorado called out by journalists and by candidates in both parties for maliciously distorting the truth in attacking political candidates.
See the breakdown of numbers below (click “Fullscreen” for clearest view):
Five organizations – the Colorado Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Colorado, the Colorado Association of School Executives, Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform – backed legislative candidates. (The school executives only endorsed; political committees affiliated with the other groups gave financial contributions. Stand didn’t give money to every candidate it endorsed.)
Here’s the scorecard by organization:
* CEA – Contributed to 41 candidates; 31 of those won. 75.6 percent.
* AFT – Contributed to 42 candidates; 31 of those won. 73.8 percent.
* CASE – Endorsed 32 candidates; 27 of those won. 84.3 percent.
* Stand – Endorsed or contributed to 18 candidates; 15 of those won. 83.3 percent.
* DFER – Contributed to only two Democratic Senate candidates; both won. 100 percent.
While the unions won about 75 percent of their endorsed candidate races, more telling is the close and high-profile races where they invested the most money. Below is a more detailed scorecard that shows the top 20 state candidates supported by Colorado teachers union contributions in 2010.
In their biggest 20 financial outlays of member dues to support Democrats running for office (99.9% of CEA and AFT political funds backed Colorado Democrats), the unions finished an even .500 — winning 10 and losing 10. Those who were successfully elected are marked in green, while those who were defeated are marked in red. Click “Fullscreen” for the best view of the list:
Speaking of “How much does NEA spend on politics?”, read the following release on the union’s habit of spending large sums of teacher dues on that annoying negative political advertising (click on “Fullscreen” for the easiest read):
Right now, it’s the heart of political season. That means some teacher organizations — the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — are actively involved in contributing member funds to various campaigns. (Other teacher organizations do not collect or distribute member money for political contributions.) As Ed News Colorado reports today with a dog bites man headline: “Union contributions mount up.”
$494,015 to progressive and Democratic 527 and 501c4 political action groups
$260,110 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
$1,500 to a Republican organization (but no candidates) — That’s one dollar to Republicans for every 173 dollars to Democrats
And now the AFT:
$63,980 to progressive and Democratic 527 and 501c4 political action groups
$50,000 to Democratic candidates and party organizations
$0 to Republicans
Added together, Colorado teachers unions have contributed 99.8 percent of their combined political spending for 2010 to one party: the Democrats. Somehow, I’m guessing that CEA and AFT members won’t vote this year in quite the same proportion. Where’s the balance?
Check out our political contributions page for some context, to see how imbalanced teachers union political giving is even by recent historical standards.