With less than two weeks before the midterm elections, teachers unions have donated millions to political campaigns, with almost all the cash going to Democratic candidates and committees.
Between January 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022, the NEA (National Education Association) Fund for Children and Political Education, the PAC affiliated with America’s largest teachers union, spent more than $3.5 million, with a majority of the contributions going to Democratic candidates and committees. Among those the NEA funded were the state Democratic political parties in Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada – all states with hotly contested congressional races.
Last January, the Michigan Democrat Party was forced to delete a post on Twitter after downplaying the role that parents play in education, and saying they have the “option to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense.”
Candidates the NEA has supported include Pennsylvania Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman. While speaking to the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Fetterman said he would be a staunch supporter of teachers unions, and they would be his first call once in office.
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The NEA also contributed to Evan McMullin, the former independent presidential candidate now running against Republican Sen. Mike Lee in Utah. McMullin is being supported by Democrats, although he’s claimed he will not caucus with either party if elected.
Between January 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education spent more than $19 million, a majority of which went to Democratic candidates and campaign committees across the country.
The AFT gave millions to both the House and Senate Majority PACS, which are intended to further expand the Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, as well as hundreds of thousands to Democrat committees, including the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Ohio Democrat Party, and the Democratic Treasurers Association.
The AFT gave no contributions to Republicans in the general election, instead, choosing to fund Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
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Unions are betting on Democrats across the country, and this support extends beyond finances. Both unions have launched aggressive get out the vote campaigns, and AFT president Randi Weingarten has been a vocal supporter of Democrats on social media.
Weingarten embarked on a get-out-the-vote effort earlier this week, stopping and campaigning with Democrats in at least ten states.
In a post on the AFT’s website, the union boss questions “which side are you on,” praising Democrats for passing the Inflation Reduction Act, “fighting to reduce gun violence,” and “supporting public schools.” In the same column, Weingarten blasts Republicans for voting against “lowering healthcare and drug costs,” as well as “going after Americans freedom to vote.”
This partisan political advocacy comes in the midst of a campaign from the AFT, which claims that the union “know what kids and communities needs,” and promotes getting politics “out of the classroom.”
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Last year, Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost his bid for governor of Virginia after claiming that parents should not “be telling schools what they should teach.” AFT President Randi Weingarten campaigned with McAuliffe in that election, as well.
In this year’s midterms, Republicans have made education a key facet of their platforms, including in House Republicans’ “Commitment to America,” which includes a promise to “make sure every student can succeed and give parents a voice.”
“Unfortunately for students, teacher unions exist to protect their members, not to ensure students receive a rigorous education,” Bob Eitel, co-founder and president of the Defense of Freedom Institute told Fox News Digital. “As academic performance in public schools continues to plummet, we are simply seeing the results of decades of teacher union control over education policy. Nothing will change until the axis of teacher union power and government monopoly over education is broken.”
“Unions are more concerned with gaining and exerting political influence than serving their members,” said Elisabeth Messenger, the president of Americans for Fair Treatment. “The nation’s largest unions spend more money on politics than representing their members, and that money goes to progressive politicians and advocacy that many of their members disagree with. It’s time for union members to demand better from their unions – AFFT can help.”
AFFT is a nonprofit organization advocating for public sector employees to “have the freedom to choose to join a union or to abstain from joining a union,” according to the organization’s website.