March 27, 2004
WEA Delenda Est
The Washington Education Association, the state affiliate of the non-terrorist National Education Association, has announced that it will launch a ballot initiative to overturn the state's recently passed charter school law.
The WEA has over 76,000 members, each of whom is required to forfeit an average $745 of their salary each year in union dues as a condition of teaching in a public school. This is effectively a direct but off-the-books transfer of $56 million of the taxpayer's money to the teacher unions every year. Much of the WEA's budget goes toward influencing the political process (often illegally) in order to maintain the union's unaccountable monopoly on public education spending. Charter schools, whose teachers are not required to join the WEA, are a threat to the union monopoly, especially if charter schools perform better than unionized public schools.
Although membership in the WEA is voluntary, paying dues to the WEA is mandatory. Maybe it's time for a ballot initiative that would dismantle the WEA altogether, or at least permit public school teachers to opt out of the union entirely and keep their entire paycheck.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 27, 2004 04:04 PM
Does any clear headed individual need further evidence that actually educating students and the WEA isn't anywhere near the top of it's agenda. By this action, the WEA is now actively working against the students it so piously claims to defend. The WEA lives in Bizarro World.
It certainly seems more than reasonable that teachers be permitted to opt-out of the union and, having done so, not pay union dues. That is the traditional "Open Shop" framework.
As for the WEA being self-interested, it would be unbelivable if they were not. The whole basis of capitalism (and why it beat out communism) and a significant underpinning of American Democracy is that in the vast majority of situations people can be counted on to act in what they perceive to be their own best interest.
New comments may be posted only from the 'Comments' links at the bottom
of each entry on the blog home page
Your're right about the pursuit of self-interest and capitalism produce benefits for society. But only those who pursue their self interests receive rewards when the consumer also agrees through their exercise of free choice. This connection is lost when a monopoly like the WEA exists. The WEA has every right to pursue it's own self-interest. However the gulf between the self-interests of the WEA and the benefits to students grows wider.