Saturday, September 04, 2004

La Cosa Nostra and Teachers Part I

When the Mafia extorts money from neighborhood retailers or dock workers, it's called "protection." If the government extorts money it is called a "tax." When a teachers association takes money from its teachers, it is referred to as "dues." As the Mafia had its la cosa nostra that forced entire neighborhoods to cough-up "protection money," your child's teacher most likely is forced to pay "protection money" to his or her various associations.

Like nearly all public educators in California, your EdWonk is forced to pay substantial protection money to THREE different associations. All of which have been (for years) increasing dues without any noticeable increase in services or effectiveness. And like 99.99% of classroom educators that practice in California, your EdWonk has no say regarding the amount of money collected.

This is because in California most teachers work for school systems that are commonly referred to by people as "closed shops." That is to say even though you cannot legally be forced to actually belong to an association, can and are forced to pay an "agency fee" that is equal to the dues that members are forced to pony-up every month. And as has been said before, the dues are substantial.

Three "associations" are supported by your typical California public school teacher. At the top sits The National Education Association. As the most distant (from the classroom teacher) of the three, it is also the least effective. However, its dues are second highest, at over two hundred dollars per year. Just below the N.E.A. are our friends over at The California Education Association. Currently, each California teacher pays these people a whopping $644.00 per year. Finally, the teacher pays tribute money to the Local. Even though the teacher is most influenced by the Local, it is the local that collects the least amount of cash.

If these organizations were true advocates for better working conditions for teachers, they would actually allow their members to have some say as to how much they are expected to actually contribute to these organizations.