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The 2021 NEA Legislative Program

The following is an excerpt from our Saturday email, which includes our musings on the latest developments impacting public employees, links to that week’s labor news, and a collection of whimsical reads for your weekend. If you’d like to receive our weekly email, you can use the sign-up form at the bottom of this page. We promise to respect your inbox, and we will never share your email address.

Around here, we talk a lot about the flow of money from unions to political candidates. That seems like the easiest way to show the link between government unions and politics. But another way to see how government unions pull the strings of politicians is by looking at the legislative agendas of national unions.

Take the NEA’s Legislative Program for 2021. This document serves as a suggestion list of sorts for lawmakers and “reflects the NEA’s current needs.” What needs are those, you ask?

  • “Reproductive freedom without governmental intervention”
  • “Coverage for full men’s and women’s reproductive health care”
  • “Federal interventions and supports to assist homeowners at risk of losing their homes”
  • “Federal legislation to preserve historically significant lands and structures”
  • “Development and implementation of a long-range national energy policy”
  • “The use of affirmative action to redress historical patterns of discrimination”
  • “Statehood of the District of Columbia”

The NEA’s list of recommendations on how federal tax money should be spent is eye-opening.

I wonder if members of the NEA would be better served if the association allocated its lobbying funds for, well, member needs instead of for, well, a wish list of progressive policies?

For starters, the NEA could address the fact that the average teacher spends $745 a year of their own money on classroom supplies. Surely NEA members would much rather see their dues going into lobbying for more resources for the classroom over a pricey political push for a more progressive energy policy.  

– Elisabeth Kines

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Elisabeth Messenger

Elisabeth Messenger is CEO of Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector workers offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2020, Elisabeth was in the publicity department at Atlantic Records in Los Angeles, CA. From there, she learned how to build organizations that would impact culture through positions in operations and business development at Universal Music Group, VEVO, and Beats Music.