Wouldn’t it be great to put about $325 in your pocket this time of year? Members of the Anchorage Education Association can do just that if they act quickly. This is not just teachers, it includes nurses, librarians, psychologists and all others who are required to belong to the AEA in order to be employed by the Anchorage School District. Let’s call the $325 a mini-PFD. How can I do that, you ask. Well, it’s easy, read on.
Many of us know that information is power and the use of misinformation or withholding of information can be even more powerful. Unfortunately, it seems that the AEA misleads its members when it states that if members opt out of the union, they will only receive $15 in return. However, the truth is that you can get 32.0% of your hard earned dues money back. And, get this, you are backed up by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1992 decision which requires the NEA-AK to tell its members that they get a refund of 32.0% because this is the amount the NEA-AK uses to promote political agendas, some of which you may totally disagree with.
So, what political agendas does the NEA support with your dues? Let’s take a look at NEA-National which received $180 of your dues ($101 went for political purposes) in 2012-2013 school year. Here is a list of some of the organizations which they supported with your dues money:
AFL-CIO $2,200,000, Center for American Progress (liberal think tank) $25,000, Democracy Alliance $85,000; Economic Policy Institute (liberal think tank) $255,000; Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network-$7,500; Health Care for America Now!-$125,000; MediaMatters (liberal org)-$100,000; National Action Network (liberal grassroots from MoveOn.org)-$60,000; Netroots Nation (liberal activist gp)-$24,999; Rainbow PUSH Coalition (Jesse Jackson liberal org)-$5,000; VoteVets.org- $270,000. For more details on these organizations and all other organizations that NEA-National supported with your dues money go here.
Whether or not one has a liberal or conservative belief system, all should agree that an organization which takes one’s dues to fund any type political organization should not be allowed. Funding of political or quasi-political organizations should be voluntary. This is about Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association which are protected by the First Amendment.
Now let’s take a look at some of the public policies that the NEA-National uses your dues money for. These, especially should make you strongly consider asking for your money back.
- Local governing boards must be fiscally independent, and restrictive limits must not be imposed on their budgets or long-term borrowing. (Translation: give us all the money we want).
- Charter school programs must be qualitatively different from what is available in mainstream public schools and not just an avenue for parental choice. Local school boards should be the only entity that can grant or renew charter applications. Charters should not be granted for the purpose of home schooling, including providing services over the Internet to home schooled students.
- The National Education Association supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight.
- The Association urges that formal sex education should include parent/guardian orientation and be planned and implemented with careful attention to developmental needs, appropriateness to community settings and values, and respect for individual differences. The Association also believes that to facilitate the realization of human potential, it is the right of every individual to live in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality and encourages affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs. Such programs should include information on—Sexual abstinence, birth control, family planning, prenatal care, parenting skills, the effects of substance abuse during pregnancy, and the issues associated with pre-teen and teenage pregnancy; diversity of culture and diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification; and sexually transmitted diseases, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and homophobia.
- Comprehensive school-based, community-funded student health care clinics that provide basic physical and mental health, and health care services that include access to social services (which may include diagnosis and treatment) to supplement school nurses. If deemed appropriate by local choice, family-planning counseling and access to birth control methods with instruction in their use.
- The Association also believes that local affiliates should negotiate reduction in force policies that exclude performance evaluation from consideration in the RIF process.
- The Association supports the adoption of a single-payer health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This means that you would lose your current health insurance and be put on the single payer federal program.
- The National Education Association believes that global climate change causes significant measurable damage to the earth and its inhabitants. This means that you would have to pay higher taxes to fund other nations’ governments.
- The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom.
- The Association also believes that members have the right to have payroll deduction of both Association membership dues and voluntary political contributions.
These are just some of the highlights of the NEA-National resolutions. If you want to see the entire list go here.
Now you may want to know “how do I opt-out of the political portion of my dues?”. Here is the form you must fill out and send certified mail, return receipt requested to: NEA, 4100 Spenard Rd, Anchorage, AK 99517. Just check the “Be an agency fee payer only” block and don’t worry about the threat of losing your “one million dollars of liability insurance protection”. You can get $2,000,000 of liability insurance from the American Association of Educators for much less. Contact your local NEA representative to find out when the OPT OUT window is and don’t let them put you off–it’s your money and you can use it to offset the PFD reduction by the governor and legislature. So, HURRY. It’s your money they are playing politics with.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 907-334-5853. Thanks for teaching our kids.
P.S. You might even want to donate to the Alaska Policy Forum for helping you maintain your Constitutional rights.