Big Labor's big money boys are pulling out all the stops to get the presidential candidate of their choice elected. Across the country, teacher union bosses have been pushing their preferred political causes and candidates and the result is the disturbing politicization of the classroom.
Today, the Washington Times reported that union brass of the Virginia Education Association Union (VEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association Union (NEA), sent an e-mail to Virginia teachers which:
...encouraged members to bring politics into the classroom by wearing blue in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and simultaneously suggested that the union's voter registration efforts include those "you teach."
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported today that teacher union bosses in New York have been "handing out thousands of Barack Obama campaign buttons" to teachers. However, as the Post notes, “the Department of Education… has a long-standing policy barring teachers from wearing political campaign buttons in schools.” The teacher union bosses in New York said they will appeal the Department’s decision. The Post quoted Department of Education spokeswoman Ann Forte as saying:
Schools are not a place for politics and not a place for staff to wear political buttons… We don't want a school or school staff advocating for any political position or candidate to students and we don't want students feeling intimidated because they might hold a different belief or support a different candidate than their teachers.
Indeed. But what about the teachers that don't support the union bosses' chosen candidate? They too should not be subjected to union officials' politicking. In the 28 states that do not have Right to Work laws (including New York), union officials are notorious for extracting forced union dues to fund political pet projects that teachers often oppose.
Unfortunately, most teachers are not even aware of their rights to refrain from contributing to Big Labor’s political pet projects as established by Foundation-won Supreme Court cases. However, while our work is cut out for us, there is hope. As Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, stated in an op-ed printed last month, “Praise the teacher, not the union”:
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is currently providing free legal aid to thousands of teachers and other employees who object to their compulsory fees funding the political agenda of union bosses, whose ultimate goal, according to one former NEA official, is "to re-order the priorities of the United States of America."