By Victor Skinner

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Because Tennessee is a right-to-work state, educators are not bound to join the state’s teachers union as a condition of employment.

Yet many join the Tennessee Education Association for the liability insurance coverage and pay $258 in annual dues – much of which goes to partisan political candidates and causes supported by the TEA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association.

An editorial published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press seeks to inform teachers that they have other options.

“In 2011, the NEA gave more than $18 million to advocacy groups around the country. These giveaways of teachers’ money include handouts such as:

– $25,000 to the controversial Democracy Alliance

– $141,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

– $100,000 to the extremist Progressive Future Organization

– $600,000 to the Fair Districts in Florida Organization

– $250,000 to the liberal Economic Policy Institute

– $200,000 to the pro-Democrat Patriot Majority PAC

“None of these associations have programs that meet the immediate needs of NEA affiliates,” the editorial said.

But the organizations do dovetail nicely with the far-left politics of union bosses and their personal political agendas. And let’s not forget about the six-figure salaries for top state and national union officials.

Thankfully, there are better options for teachers who don’t agree with the union’s liberal politics and spending priorities. The Professional Educators of Tennessee offers twice the insurance coverage of the TEA at nearly half the cost of union dues – $165 per year.

“The difference in dues cost is related to the TEA’s massive overhead expenses and outrageous political spending,” according to the editorial. “TEA members are not only being poorly represented, they are getting fewer bangs for their buck.”

Educators outside of Tennessee can contact the Association of American Educators, the nation’s largest non-union teachers association, for more information on alternatives to their teachers union.

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