Not since the late Albert Shanker has a teachers union official been so candid about the true priorities of the National Education Association. Shanker, the late president of the American Federation of Teachers famously said: “When school children start paying union dues, that ‘s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
Now NEA general counsel Bob Chanin, speaking to the teachers union convention, goes even further.
Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.
The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.
This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing drop rate rates, improving teacher quality, and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, or collective bargaining.
That is simply too high a price to pay.
Read more at Heritage Foundation.