Teachers' unions have long used their members' money for political goals--but it's getting out of hand. Consider Newark, New Jersey, where the local AFT affiliate has put up billboards that read "Help Wanted. Stop the Killings in Newark Now!" The union claims that it is trying to raise awareness about the city's growing murder rate, but insiders know that it's really just trying to embarrass Mayor Cory Booker, an avowed charter school and voucher supporter. Booker noted that, if he had union dollars, he wouldn't spend them on billboards. "I would use them for after-school programs. I would use them to help schools," he said. A novel thinker, that Booker. It's not just union members' money that the Newark Teachers Union wastes. Even those teachers who decide not to join the local union still pay a whopping 85 percent of the standard union dues. For what? To paper over the city's streets? And you wonder why the real "help wanted" ads are full of open teaching jobs.
"Blackboards Not Billboards," by David White, New York Times, April 29, 2007