Now that educators have a choice to leave the union, where do they go?
For generations, educators have joined teachers’ unions with the trust that their money will help advance their profession. Unfortunately, the nation’s largest teacher union the National Education Association–known here at home as WEAC– has morphed from a respected education association to behemoth political special interest group.
In recent years, educators nationwide have grown increasingly frustrated by the high dues, partisan political spending, and adversarial tactics of their labor unions. Since 2011, WEAC (Wisconsin Education Association) has seen a 35 percent decline in membership. This mass exodus has not only gained national headlines but has left teachers questioning the value of pricey union membership – which can run as high as $1,000 a year here in Wisconsin.
A law of the past in our state, there are still millions of teachers who live in states or districts where they are required to pay dues or fees as a condition of employment. And while there are thousands of teachers here at home who freely exercise their right to opt out of union membership, union-created roadblocks and state laws that favor union bosses over teachers leave many educators unaware that they have options. Often, they are beholden to arbitrary “drop” periods surreptitiously extending their union membership, or are fooled to believe there are no other organizations that can meet their needs as educators.
Depending on the school district, teachers are constantly subject to policies that keep them from making informed decisions. Misinformation and convoluted opt-out requirements may keep union dues flowing, but they’re anti-teacher choice.
Wisconsin’s hardworking school employees deserve more.
Our teachers are a treasure; they should not be kept from exercising their rights. The fact remains that educators deserve to know what options they have. Only then can they exercise their right to make informed decisions on where to send their hard-earned dollars. This school year, it’s not just our students who need to learn that knowledge is power.
The Association of American Educator’s is the Nation’s largest alternative to the union. With members in all 50 states, AAE-www.aaeteachers.org– offers a collegial approach to teacher representation which includes: professional liability insurance, an authentic voice in education advocacy, monthly newsletters, access to supplemental insurance, grant and scholarship opportunities, professional development opportunities, and the peace of mind knowing that NO membership fees are used for partisan politics or candidates. With a low membership fee of $16.50 a month, it is clear to see why AAE membership is growing by leaps and bounds in Wisconsin.
It is refreshing to see an association that is bringing professionalism back to the profession of education!