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0 comments | November 07, 2006 | 11:01 AM | posted by Booker T.

Involuntary Servitude
By Goldwater Institute: Benjamin Barr on Nov 07, 06


An upcoming challenge before the US Supreme Court may protect teachers.


As a parent, I’m often subject to my children’s favorite refrain: “You’re not the boss of me!” That reflects the nearly universal sentiment that nobody likes to be told what to do. A pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court will test our commitment to the principle of non- coercion. At issue in Washington Education Association is whether non-union members can be forced to subsidize union politics. The Washington Supreme Court said yes.


Washington requires teachers who are not members of the teacher’s union to pay dues anyway, since they are beneficiaries of collective bargaining agreements and other work. But, in an effort to protect those who disagree with the union, state law requires unions to get permission from non-member teachers before using their dues for political purposes. That simple step protects freedom of speech – in this case, the freedom to be silent or to support views different from the education establishment.


Political spending by the education lobby isn’t chump change. Last year, the National Education Association (NEA) spent some $25 million on lobbying and political activities. But if a teacher disagrees with the NEA’s positions on the issues, why should he be forced to support them? After all, the NEA isn’t the boss of teachers, or at least it shouldn’t be.


Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.

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