Education Intelligence Agency reported in January that the National Education Association (NEA) gave $18.8 million to advocacy groups in 2010. The contribution totals for each group were tabulated from financial disclosure records. Remember: these contributions do NOT represent the money that NEA gave to political candidates, but contributions — from member dues — made to various organizations.
Here are some of the EIA findings.
- Donations to advocacy groups are up $5 million from the previous year… So much for the tough economy.
- NEA claims to have a membership that represents a range of political views, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the giving patterns. The overwhelming majority of contributions were to left-leaning groups. These groups were advocates for such causes as socialized medicine, illegal immigration and gay rights.
- Money was also given to states to fight state ballot initiatives in Ohio and Wisconsin
- North Carolina received $200,000 to fund NC Citizens for Protecting Our Schools. According to campaign finance records, the Washington DC-based Families First Action Fund also donated $30,000 to NC Citizens Protecting Our Schools. The group then used $8,418 of that money on get-out-the-vote calls to aid Democratic school incumbent Kevin Hill in a critical runoff election that allowed Democrats to regain the majority on the Wake County School Board.
Remember, NEA is the parent affiliate of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE). Anyone who is a member of NCAE is by definition also a member of NEA and must also pay dues to that organization. For 2011-12, the average full-time teacher pays about $415 in dues to NCAE/NEA.
You have to wonder: How do these contributions advance the interests and the professional development of teachers?