• Who Decides Maryland State Education Association Apple Endorsements?

    May 26, 2024
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    Answer? Not the Union's Membership!

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    NOTE: This article was originally published in 2022. It has been updated with some minor changes. The facts in the article remain consistent. In the case of Union salaries, they have undoubtedly increased.

    Imagine this. You are a public-school teacher in Maryland. Your salary, based on the average for Maryland, is $54,000 a year. Out of that salary, you pay $400 to $500 dollars a year to the Maryland State Education Association, National Education Association, and your district’s union through your local union affiliate.

    If you are a new teacher in your first through third years, you’re told that you MUST join the union or you won’t get renewed, get tenure or have health or liability insurance. The big fib is that you won’t get legal representation if you are not a member of the Union.

    All lies.

    The truth is that if you join the union, you will get an organization that spends less than a dime of every dollar of income on representing you and other teachers and more on amassing political power.

    The Teachers Unions (NEA and AFT) are two of the largest public employee unions in the United States. And they are two of the most corrupt. If you read their mission statements, you’ll see they have very little to do with education.

    Here’s a link to some info I provided in late 2021 about Unions:

    Part Two: The Lies They Tell You About Education in the U.S.- Unions Care About Teachers and Students – Radio Free Oxford

    You can read about the history of the Unions and their change in mission over the past 100 years at that link. You can also find out about their platforms and policies.

    Approximately 70% of teachers in the U.S. belong to a union. One out of every four union members total in the United States belong to either NEA or AFT. This is 3.6 million working members and more than HALF of all public-sector union members.

    Think about that. A union that has veto power over what your child is taught, whether he/she must wear a mask or be vaccinated to attend school or whether he/she can attend school in person is one of TWO unions which control one quarter of unionized workers in our country. As Mike Antonucci points out in his article for “The 74” (see link below), “In the private sector, unions organize against business owners and corporation. In the public sector, who are they organized against?”

    Examine the MONEY and influence of the unions beyond just membership. First, consider that the NEA has over 700 employees and at least two thirds of those employees make over $100,000 a year. The President makes $325,901. The top 25 employees make over $200,000. That means that most of their employees make many times what a teacher who has taught for 30 years makes. In Maryland, the Executive Director makes over $200,000 dollars a year. The next ten employees make over $100,000 a year. Even local affiliate heads are given a salary, and in some counties in Maryland, they are not only on the school district payroll as a teacher but as Union President. Seem like a conflict of interest? It is, but it doesn’t matter because the Maryland State Education Association is the LARGEST most influential union in Maryland.

    The National Education Association has assets of over $400 million and almost 3 million members. What’s odd is that their assets have increased while membership has dropped. The percentages that describe how these millions are spent is also interesting. The biggest category is “contributions, gifts and grants” which is 27.45%. The next category is Union Administration, which is 12.19%. Union employees come in at 9.92%, which is nearly the same as what they spent on “representational activities,” which is 10.09% or 10 cents on every dollar. Lobbying and political comes in at 8.69% but if combined with those mysterious contributions and gifts makes up over 36% of the total expenditures. Rounding out the larger categories are General Overhead and Union Administration. at 12.3% and 12.1%.

    What is also interesting is that over 60 million or 76% of political donations go to DEMOCRAT politicians at the Federal level. At the State level it’s 128 million of which 86% goes to DEMOCRATS and 14% goes to Republicans. In Maryland, the picture is even more bleak for Republicans as the union gives 98% of donations to Democrats and 2% to Republicans.

    And because the unions work hard to hide donations, this does not include all the various Political Action Committees they have created. Any Mafia Don would be proud. For example, if you see the donor “MSEA Fund for Children and Public Education” on the list of donors to a candidate, that is the Union.

    Are we in the weeds yet? Maybe. We could go into the same stats on the American Federation of Teachers, where President Rhonda Weingarten makes over $400,000 a year. AFT is smaller than NEA with only 135 million in assets and only 400 employees. And, in fairness, they actually spend 27.98% of their budget on “representational activities.” Political activities and lobbying come in at 15.50% of their budget or almost 41 million dollars.

    But, if you are DEMOCRATS, you get 98% of the AFT’s political spending. ($45,898,518) Sorry Republicans, you only get 1% at the Federal level ($682,057). At the State level it’s an average of 91% Democrats ($37,263,145) and 9% Republicans ($3,606,155)

    Across the country, Unions give endorsements to candidates as well. Endorsement and donation usually go hand in hand.

    Which leads us to endorsements. The Maryland State Education Association goes to great lengths to describe how they decide endorsements:

    In this “fair, open, process” there is no direct vote from Union membership to decide endorsements. This is left to an elite group selected to a council. And then, the candidate must receive only 58% of their vote. So, slightly over HALF of the council has to vote to endorse a candidate.

    Not very representative of the teachers who belong to the union.

    If you are a candidate, what do you agree to when you get this endorsement?

    Unions only pick candidates that agree with the Unions beliefs and platforms. Here’s what NEA (and thus MSEA) describes as priorities on their agenda:

    Racial Justice in Education: Key Terms and Definitions | NEA

    White Supremacy Culture Resources | NEA


    What you will find on the NEA platform is a smorgasbord of Critical Race Theory, divisive identity politics, and normalization of transgenderism. What you DON’T see is a true commitment to ACADEMICS and promotion of student learning. Any candidate who receives the NEA/MSEA endorsement must be in compliance with their platform. By association endorsees have the same beliefs.

    The endorsement also assures that the candidates, once they are elected, are beholding to the Teachers Union. That’s not unusual with endorsements from any union, but when it comes to the Teachers Unions, having people in positions of power support their priorities means that kids are subject to union control over classroom indoctrination and exposure to overtly sexual and race based/biased curriculum. Even more frightening is the aforementioned union power to demand masking requirements, vaccine mandates and distance learning whenever a new “pandemic” occurs. A phone call from the Union President to a Board of Education member, County Council member, State Delegate, Senator or Governor can force our schools into practices that are unsafe and harmful to kids as a payback for that Union endorsement given during the election.

    If you don’t think those union demands were harmful to kids, look at the recent test scores and plethora of studies showing children with developmental problems which can be traced to school lockdowns or “safety” measures. An analysis by McKinsey and Company found that, on average, students finished the 20-21 school year five months behind in math and six months in reading. **U.S. News and World Report, March 17, 2022

    That is a price most of us don’t want to pay. But an endorsed politician will see it as what he/she owes the union and will pay it back regardless of what it does to kids.

    That's how we got the Blueprint and why counties are implementing it, in most cases, without a whimper or fight.

    So, what can you do? It’s simple.

    You MUST stay involved in the school system especially if your children are in public schools. Go to every board meeting. Pay attention to what they are saying and proposing. Many systems have monthly and even weekly meetings with Union staff. Parents and parent groups should have the same access.

    Most important, the next time you see that cute little “Apple” endorsement on a candidate’s signs, remember what it has cost both teachers and students. Teachers pay for services they don’t get. Students are held hostage to the Union’s drive for power. Families are being manipulated by Unions in ways that are causing them great financial and emotional hardship. Think of it as a “poison apple” and do NOT give that candidate your vote regardless of their party.

    It’s time to take our schools and our children back from the Unions.

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    Dems, union leaders responsible for school lockdowns face few repercussions, despite evidence that kids harmed | Fox News

    How to Opt Out of Your Teachers Union – Teacher Freedom

    New Numbers: The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Now Represent 1 in 4 U.S. Union Members – The 74 (the74million.org)

    Helping Students Catch Up on Unfinished Learning (usnews.com)



    Jan Greenhawk

    Jan Greenhawk is a former teacher and school administrator for over thirty years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Maryland. She also spent over twenty-five years coaching/judging gymnastics and coaching women’s softball.
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