Nothing Does More to Weaken Unions Than Union Leaders

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

(The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of

The left-leaning ideologues who run the country’s teachers’ unions accidentally overexposed themselves when they forced millions of school children to stay at home and gave parents a front-row seat to the propaganda their more militant members invoke in lesson plans.


But the truth is, teachers’ union leaders have been trying to indoctrinate children into their political and left-leaning worldview for years.

In the 1980s, they embraced a curriculum teaching that President Ronald Reagan was more dangerous than the former Soviet Union; children in the 1990s were told pollution was going to cause acid rain that would burn our skin; and modern students learn that if they were born with a set of chromosomes they don’t identify with and want to change their name, their parents don’t have to find out.

Decades of monopolistic control over school boards and leftist lesson plans have emboldened teachers’ union leadership, and they became increasingly more militant in recent years.

Union priorities now include pushing unrealistic and unhealthy COVID restrictions, teaching young children to judge people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, and making explicit sexual content available in school libraries that has been banned from community school board meetings.

No wonder national tests reveal K-12 student math and reading scores are at their lowest since the 1990s and America’s 2022 graduating high school seniors had the lowest average college admissions tests in more than 30 years.

An internal poll released this past summer by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) revealed nine out of 10 respondents said schools have become too politicized. Another 40 percent of respondents said they may leave the profession in two years, and three-quarters admitted they would not recommend the profession to others.


If she’s looking for someone to blame, AFT President Randi Weingarten need only look in the mirror. With students struggling mightily to learn anything of value under the current arrangement and teachers disheartened about being ordered to indoctrinate rather than educate, Weingarten decided last week was the appropriate time for a photo op in war-torn Ukraine.

Only a few months after bullying school districts in this country to remain closed to in-class instruction due to COVID fears, Weingarten had the gall to promote make-shift in-person schools so Ukrainian children can keep learning in a classroom instead of remotely.

Just a few years ago, well-meaning teachers had little choice but to resist the teachers’ union propaganda in small, quiet ways in their own classroom while watching portions of their paycheck go to fund a political agenda they didn’t support.

That changed in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that union dues amount to political speech and ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that public employees cannot be forced to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

While the news spread slowly at first, the message has gained traction and fed-up teachers are leaving their unions in droves.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) is arguably the nation’s most powerful state teachers’ union and remains the leading exporter of government union campaign cash across the country.


The rest of America can dismiss what one-party rule has done to the once beautiful state, but California’s political influence can be felt in races across the states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado.

In 2018, before the Janus decision affirmed that teachers can refuse to support their unions’ radical politics, the CTA boasted 310,000 members. Today that number stands at 280,000 — a loss of more than 30,000 members and $36 million a year in lost dues revenue — much of which would have gone into campaign coffers to buy elected officials who would serve Big Labor’s interests.

And as more teachers learn they have a right not to support this nonsense with their paychecks, they’re using that money to put gas in their tanks and food on their table rather than funding the lavish lifestyles and leftist politics of their union leaders.

Rachel Wiegel is deputy national director at the Freedom Foundation.


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