Compulsory education

Spokane business teacher Scott Carlson doesn't think the Washington Education Association (WEA), of which he is not a member, should be able to raid his paycheck to fund its political causes without his permission. Oddly, the Washington state Supreme Court disagrees. The court found that the potential benefits to 4,000 non-WEA member teachers who sued (to regain individual sums of $50 to $200) were relatively small compared to the "heavy administrative burden" of requiring the WEA to gain written approval from each teacher before using his or her money for union-backed politics (in other words, to follow the law). The case will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in January. But while we wait for that verdict, consider: The WEA's mission has something to do with representing the interests and voices of Washington's teachers--why does that apply only to teachers whose political views jibe with the union's? And why should Scott Carlson and his peers be compelled to associate with the WEA in the first place? Maybe he can go teach in a union-free charter school. Oh wait, the WEA already used his money to kill that idea, too.

"State of the Unions," by Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2006

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