I wrote “The Long Reach of Teachers’ Unions: Using money to win friends and influence policy” for the Fall issue of Education Next. It’s posted online now.
The article tallies all of NEA and AFT’s campaign spending during the 2007-08 cycle but focuses on how the political clout of the teachers’ unions extends far beyond their core issues. And because of the unions’ structures, there is no such thing as a “strong union state” or a “weak union state.” The dues money generated in New Jersey and New York can be airdropped into South Dakota and Utah.
This means that in every state, every decision related to the cost of government has to account for the position of the teachers’ unions. With the economy in a downturn, it appears taxpayers are beginning to notice.