teachers may no longer be forced to pay union fees
January 21, 2016
ongoing argument between some teachers and the California
Teachers Association (CTA) is highlighting the law which
forces educators to pay union fees even though they don’t
agree with the politics of the union.
Regarding “Friedrichs v. the CTA,” the Supreme
Court appears ready to hand down a ruling which will change
that law for the first time in 40 years. The justices are
weighing in on whether compelled union dues violate the
In the past, the court has upheld the reasoning that teachers
have to pay for the cost of union bargaining. The new opinion,
which the court seems to agree with, states that any action
by the teachers’ union is political no matter if it
is involved in bargaining or lobbying for action being taken
As one of the most powerful lobbies in the state, this could
have a major impact on the future of the union by taking
away funds which have been used to buy votes and to campaign
with. Since the union has a long history of supporting Democratic
Party policy, and Democratic candidates, the decision could
affect future legislation.
Conservative groups have long argued that teachers unions
have wielded too much power in the state legislature. Rarely
have new laws found their way to approval unless they have
support from unions.
We have for a long time questioned the amount of influence
the teachers union has had on the laws regarding the number
of school days, the length of school days, and the curriculum
which at times seems to be in favor of the teachers at the
expense of the student.
We also note that the state is rife with laws which make
the cost of education more expensive than it needs to be.
For instance, when a school district builds a new school,
it does not have the option of taking a plan which has previously
been engineered and approved, over a brand new plan. This
means the school district has to pay for large engineering
fees when other states have found there were big savings
in having standardized plans.
There are still many incompetent teachers teaching in our
classrooms while administrators find it impossible to remove
them from the classroom.
This is not to say our schools are made up of bad teachers.
Most are very dedicated, but sometimes the more dedicated
they are, the more they are subjected to rules which dumb
down their class program.
Today we have standards which tend to dumb down the curriculum
so every student can achieve. The problem is that not every
school district is the same. We have school districts where
more than 50 percent of the students do not speak English
as their first language.
Is it fair to expect those schools to bring these students
up to the level of children who are English speaking by
We are not saying the student who is born speaking a foreign
language is not as smart as the English speaking student.
It does mean that their learning experience and program
for learning is going to be different than a student with
a fully English-speaking background.
There is one other thing which has changed in school districts
in the past 50 years. Once the school district was in control
of its program, and the teachers worked in unison toward
achieving local goals.
When the state took over school financing, the schools became
a battle field, and teachers unions had a field day ---
many times at the expense of the students. To some extent
that has moderated in recent years, but school districts
still do not have the power to control what is best for
Certain subjects like art and music have been given a back
seat in relationship to other things like reading, writing
and math. All of these are important and allow the student
to grow up in harmony with their life. Taking art and music
out of one’s life is like living without balance.
Why have these subjects been removed? All too often we are
told that the school cannot afford them. What has happened
since the old days when art and music were part of the regular
We feel that it is time for teachers to speak out, but not
be harnessed by the teachers union which does not represent
everyone, and certainly has no business demanding fees from
teachers who do not agree with union politics.