In late 2005 California had a special election. One of the propositions on the ballot would have required unions to get member permission before spending dues money on political causes.
Those of us on the right see that as looking out for the free association rights of individuals, especially those who may disagree with the political stance of their union--and let's not forget, supporting a union is the law for teachers here in California, whether or not they choose to be a member of said union. The left saw this issue as a free speech issue for the unions.
I've said it too many times to count: the Right wants rights and freedoms for individuals, while the Left wants them for groups (and only certain groups at that).
Watch this video of California's professional teaching corps in action, trying to drown out a press conference announcing support for this ballot proposal (which lost, as did all the proposals in that election). Watch these brave men shout down a couple of women. Watch these supporters of the First Amendment as they try to deny First Amendment freedoms to others.
Union hacks, are you proud of what you see here?
If for no other reason than what we see in that video, I believe that CTEN, the California Teachers Empowerment Network, is a necessary and valuable organization for teachers. CTEN gives a voice to those disenfranchised teachers among us, teachers who don't always agree with the CTA and its politics. It allows an opposing voice to be heard, the inclusion of which would bring a true democratic spirit to the teacher's union--if the CTA were to listen.
(If the link above doesn't automatically open Windows Media Player, copy the URL and paste it into Media Player. Try this link for QuickTime.)