Update: As of 2018, Free to Teach is no longer run by Commonwealth Foundation, but by the organization.
I left my teachers union because I was against the forced funding of political groups that go against my personal beliefs.
The NEA/PSEA’s agendas and political ideals are counter to what I believe, and it is a kick in the teeth every time my dues are withdrawn from my hard-earned paycheck and handed off to some organization that I would never contribute to of my own free will.
For example, ACORN and Planned Parenthood both received NEA money, which comes from teachers’ union dues. Both of these groups are what I consider to be unacceptable recipients of my money. I would never support a group that engaged in voter registration fraud and pushed for housing loans to under-qualified borrowers as ACORN was proved to have done.
I also have no desire to fund Planned Parenthood, a group that provides abortion. I have a three month old premature grand-daughter who was a candidate for abortion, but we did not give in and she is the apple of our eye.
It is a recorded fact that the NEA did in fact send money to both of these groups. This misuse of my dues money finally made me look for a way to get out of the union.
Now don’t get me wrong: I like my local and the people who make it up. I have no problem having my dues money going to support them and their efforts on my behalf. I like having them there to answer questions and to take care of negotiating a contract. Heck, I was on the negotiations team for three contracts.
However, when my dues keep rising and I see the NEA spending my money on ridiculous recipients, that is where I draw the line. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I received an email telling (not asking) me not to read any emails from the Commonwealth Foundation, which runs Free to Teach.
The Union claimed they were a union-busting organization and the email should not be read but deleted from our inbox as soon as possible. So much for presenting both sides and allowing people to make their own choices.
I chose to take a look since I was looking to get out and wanted to be educated on what my options were. The information I was able to absorb allowed me to make an informed decision to resign from my union and become a fee payer instead.
Public School History and Reading Teacher