Teachers Unions Upset Because Parents Are Taking Over

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Teachers unions – the NEA and AFT – are at war against parents and school children.

School choice, giving parents the choice of where they want their kids to go to school, is one of their biggest threats.

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Even – and especially – in jurisdictions where there is no question that union schools are a miserable failure.

[T]heir efforts are equally fierce against a parent’s right to choose the best school for their children. Other than an unfavorable ruling in Friedrichs, the worst nightmare for the unions is giving parents choices – charter schools, and worse, vouchers, tax credit scholarships and educational savings accounts.

And the unions are not doing well on that count either. A national poll conducted earlier this year shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans support school choice. (The two battles are interrelated: As teachers leave their unions, there is less money for the unions to spend on fighting choice bills in state legislatures. And more private choice options translate to fewer unionized teachers.)

There are now 6,700 charter schools serving nearly 3 million students in 43 states and D.C. As for private sector choice, there are now 56 different programs operating in 28 states. In 2000-2001, there were just 29,000 students in these programs, but by 2014-2015, that number had grown over 12-fold to 354,000.

In light of the fact that parents take advantage of the private option when available, their kids perform better in these choice programs and they save the taxpayers money, the unions can’t put up much of a reasoned argument.

Fortunately, teachers unions are even losing the battle keeping their members and their cash flow from taxpayers to Democrat politicians.

Teacher union membership is dwindling. In fact, it has dipped below 50 percent nationwide, down from a high of almost 70 percent in 1993. Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, having  become “right-to-work” (RTW) states over the past several years, have given teacher freedom a big boost.

Wisconsin, which also limits teachers’ collective bargaining activities via Act 10, has seen its National Education Association affiliate’s numbers cut by more than half. Prior to the legislation, the Wisconsin Education Association Council had approximately 100,000 members. It now has fewer than 40,000, according to the MacIiver Institute.

In Michigan, the teachers unions have lost 20 percent of their membership since becoming a RTW state in 2012, but this number will grow.

The biggest battle is going on right now at the Supreme Court.

… freedom from forced unionism could greatly accelerate in 2016 courtesy of the Friedrichs v California Teachers Association case. If the litigants are victorious, no teacher – or public employee – in the country will be forced to pay any money to a union as a condition of employment. With oral arguments in just days, the ruling will be finalized in six months.

This is one of the most important Supreme Court decisions of the last century.  If the decision goes against the unions it will cut off a major source of revenue for Democrats.  There’s a circle of moving taxpayer money from taxpayers to union wages to union dues to Democrat election coffers.  If the Supremes find for the employees, if history is any guide unions will lose up to 70% of their members and Democrats will lose a vast amount of campaign cash.

About Author

Michael Becker is a long time activist and a businessman. He's been involved in the pro-life movement since 1976 and has been counseling addicts and ministering to prison inmates since 1980. Becker is a Curmudgeon. He has decades of experience as an operations executive in turnaround situations and in mortgage banking. He blogs regularly at The Right Curmudgeon, The Minority Report, Wizbang, Unified Patriots and Joe for America. He lives in Phoenix and is almost always armed.

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