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Choice for teachers

Posted by Richard on December 3, 2009

Every year, the teachers unions spend lots of their members' dues money promoting political candidates and causes. Most, but not all, of the money goes to liberal/leftist/socialist candidates. Some of it goes instead to promote liberal/leftist/socialist ballot issues or to lobby for liberal/leftist/socialist legislation.

Not all teachers are happy to see their dues money spent on those things. Here in Colorado (and elsewhere, I'm sure), teachers can choose not to contribute to their union's political activities — but it's an "opt out" process, not "opt in," and it has to be repeated annually. Colorado Education Association (CEA) members have until December 15 to request a $39 refund of what's called the "Every Member Option" political funds, and an additional refund of up to $24 from their local union.

Visit Independent Teachers (a service of the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center) for specific details on how to claim the refunds in Colorado, as well as other information about teachers union membership, dues, political contributions, etc., from Colorado, other states, and nationally.

As you might expect, the teachers unions don't exactly make it easy for members to learn how and when to claim the refunds. They also don't appreciate anyone else trying to correct that situation. In addition to providing the Independent Teachers website, the Independence Institute also does an annual informational mailing to Colorado's teachers about these refunds. At Ed News Colorado, Ben DeGrow has posted both the Independence Institute's message and the angry response sent out by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, so you can judge for yourself whether the former is "sinister" and a "misinformation campaign," as charged by the latter.

If you know a Colorado teacher, send them to Independent Teachers for information about the political contributions made with their money and how to obtain the refunds. Teachers from other states can find some useful information and links there, too.

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