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0 comments | July 03, 2007 | 11:16 AM | posted by Ryan

Constitutional Amendment 1 has been submitted to the NEA’s Representative Assembly and would expand NEA membership “to persons interested in advancing the cause of public education, who shall agree to subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Association and to abide by its Constitution and Bylaws.”

This amendment is proof that some NEA officials are not as interested in teachers as they are in expanding their political influence. A startling statement, yes, but bear with me.

Only NEA members can contribute to the NEA’s Political Action Committee. Therefore, if the union wants to expand its grassroots political funding base, it must grow its membership. This predicament forces NEA officials to make a choice:

  • Stay true to representing teachers by limiting membership to only education employees (this limits the union’s political clout by limiting those who can contribute to the PAC and thus, its political funding.), or
  • Open membership to the general public (providing they agree with the NEA’s agenda) and rake in hundreds of thousands in dues and political contributions.
I have heard from other sources that some NEA officials have been pushing this amendment hard for the past few years. While these officials obviously believe they can best represent teachers by working by walking the halls of Congress they do not understand, or care about, the true needs of teachers.

Is this the beginning of the end of the National Education Association? Maybe not, so long as the term “Education” in National Education Association can be construed to mean something other than education employees. But the union would certainly be straying from its roots.

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