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Calif. Teachers' Union Fights Same-Sex Marriage Ban

| 14 Comments

A California ballot measure, Proposition 8, seeks to overturn same-sex marriage in the state, which has been legal since May 15 of this year. The California Teachers Association has donated $1 million to the No on Proposition 8 Campaign to help defeat the initiative, reports the Union Tribune.

In a statement on their Web site, the teachers’ union said, “California’s constitution should guarantee the same freedoms and rights to everyone – no one group should be singled out and have their rights taken away.”

Not all members of the union are happy with the $1 million donation. California teacher Randy Peart was quoted by ABC News10 saying, "It bothers me to spend my money on something I'm morally opposed to. Why not put that money into classrooms, into making a better place for these kids?"

Proposition 8 supporters claim that because schools are currently required to teach “respect” for marriage, they may be forced to teach respect for same-sex marriage.

Fourth-grade teacher Randy Schimpf said in the Union Tribune that if same-sex marriage continues in California, “there will be a time when we, as teachers, will be asked to teach that gay and lesbian marriages are normal.”

In a commercial opposing Proposition 8, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell refutes this claim.

“Proposition 8 has nothing to do with schools or kids,” O’Connell said. “Our schools aren't required to teach anything about marriage, and using kids to lie about that is shameful.”

14 Comments

This is America ... the teacher's union can spend its money in any way that it sees fit. However, please don't tell us about shortages of supplies, "vital" programs that are being cut ... all the while asking the taxpayers for support. If you want to spend you money on political issues that have NO relevance to education, then you're on your own.

$1 million dollars? If the union has that kind of money to donate, then they better not be complaining about how they don't have enough money for school related expenses! As a parent I know my kid's school could of used that money.

Teachers have the right to the protections afforded by a union, and to choose to spend their earned dollars paying union dues. That is not a taxpayer issue, unless one takes the viewpoint that working for the government makes them a government owned entity.

Unions are very supportive of employee benefits. One way to access these benefits is to be a family member (the spouse or dependent) of someone who works. I would say that they have a legitimate stake in how the government legally defines a family. It would be consistent for them to back a definition that broadens rather than narrows the definition to be more inclusive of the families of all their members.

I would be mad if my dues were being spent on this political issue as well. No one can make a claim about classroom supplies, or things that have to do with students... this is not tax payer money, but money paid by the educators! While a union can use their money as they see fit, this is a topic that would cause deep divide among its members.

As a teacher for 30 years, I have NEVER been asked what my political stance is by the union. I resent the fact that my dues are spent to support issues that I, and MANY of my colleagues seriously oppose. When political ads run and say "California teachers oppose...", it angers me. I support Prop 8. I am seriously considering not being part of the union any more. It does NOT speak for it's members!

I am also a "California teacher" that does not support CTA's or NEA's political agenda. We are forced to pay dues then are groosly misrepresented politically. The overwhelming majority of teachers in my district support Prop.8. We all have the option to direct our union dues to a non-profit, non-religious organization. I did it for many years when I started my career. I believe that if all of us would take a financial stand against our unions, they would surely listen to our points of view for a change.

@Margo/Mom - Unfortunately, in California, I do not have the "right" not to pay union dues! I work in a closed shop and am required to pay "protection money to a mob" with which I do not agree. In my opinion, it is legalized extortion.

I am not a union member and this gross misuse of funds is just one of many reasons!

Kim:

I understand--I was responding to the knee-jerk response that said that if unions have money to lobby they should be spending it on resources for schools. Agree or disagree, I do see the connection and understand the reasoning behind a closed shop--non-union members reap the same advantages as union member (without paying) otherwise. Some states allow withholding the portion of dues that go toward political action. Of course another avenue is to become active in your union and make your views known.

Dues is not spent on political action, PAC, political action contributions, are made by members above and beyond dues. So whatever has been spent for this campaign, it has been made by those who wish to contribute to political action causes, not dues or taxes.

Linda, Trevor, Kim,

Right on! Unions have many teachers corralled because of agency fees. In districts where individuals are allowed not to be a union member these teachers still must pay an agency fee because it's been determined they benefit from some of the union's collective bargaining.

State unions and the NEA do an awful job of representing their membership. They care even less about students, whose needs they are supposed to serve. On the other hand local unions do a great job for their members and in many districts are also genuinely supportive of their students.

State and federal unions have no business dictating who their members should vote for in any election and even less right to mandate social policy issues. Their "suggestions" to their members often times border on the absurd but, maddeningly (is that even a word?), that doesn't seem to stop them.

Right back at you Paul. I am so disgusted with CTA that I can no longer stand by and have them represent me. I have stayed in for many years because I wanted to support my local union. But I can't any longer. When I totally drop out of CTA and NEA on Monday,I regret that I must also drop out of my local group. They fight hard for teachers and kids. However, I am not allowed to be part of my local union if I'm not with the other two. Again, I suggest all of us take action and send our message to CTA. There are many, many, organizations that would greatly welcome our dues.By the way, I have tried getting involved but didn't get anywhere because of my conservative views. CTA also opposes Prop 4.

Paul:

I would suggest that any advocacy for students is incidental to the primary role of unions which is to advocate for the employment conditions of workers. I absolutely grant that the concerns of teachers may frequently overlap those of students. But it is a mistake to expect them to be an advocacy group for education. Sometimes the needs of students are in conflict with the desires of teachers.

Is that even legal?
I've been a teacher, and I am a union member in Canada, where this would absolutely be illegal use of union dues.
It would have been classy of those teachers to organize a peace rally, and been worth way more than the money, I bet!

Why are we teachers acting like a bunch of wimps? Opting out of the union does not fix the unconstitutional injustices being imposed upon us dues-paying members. What we need is a class action lawsuit! There must be approximately 100,000 of us who are disenfranchised (about 1/3 of membership) Each of us paid $36 into the initiative fund where we supported NO on 8. Our union has NO RIGHT to use our voices any longer without polling us first. This is against the law! Please join me! Vicky

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  • Margo/Mom: Paul: I would suggest that any advocacy for students is read more
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