John Cress, Ellwood City math teacher and longtime Free to Teach member, has been involved with worker freedom since he became a plaintiff in the Hartnett v. PSEA case. He and three other Pennsylvania public school teachers filed suit against their union for violating their First Amendment rights by forcing them to pay for political activism they disagreed with.
A lifelong Pennsylvanian who grew up in Stoneboro, John has a passion for helping his students grow in knowledge, especially the knowledge that they are cared for. This passion also led him and his wife to become foster parents: “every child deserves a chance at a stable, caring home and structure,” he explains. “I believe it is better for a child to be adopted than aborted—which is what led us into foster care.”
This passion put him at odds with his union, especially the fact that a portion of his union dues funded a pro-abortion political agenda. In that sense, his role as a plaintiff in Hartnett and his role as a foster dad are combined. He’s found both rewarding:
“My wife and I were blessed with the opportunity to adopt a beautiful girl who is blossoming into a young lady—and I love being a dad. It’s an experience that I would not trade for anything.”
John says he’s very glad to be part of Free to Teach, as “they never pressured me to engage in activism or give them money—they offered me the free choice to say no thanks to groups that did. At Free to Teach, we believe in free thought, which means you don’t have to violate your beliefs as a condition of employment.”
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, please check out this website about foster care in Pennsylvania.
Is a teacher, first responder, or other public sector worker doing something amazing in your community? Tell us about it by emailing [email protected]!