Thursday, October 23, 2008

CTA and Prop 8

Just a few posts prior to this one is one about Proposition 8, the statewide initiative that would change California's constitution to say that the state would only recognize marriages between a man and a woman. My point in that post was not to debate the merits or demerits of the initiative, but to point out that CTA has no business kicking in teachers' money on either side of the issue.

Longtime anonymous RotLC reader "Dan" is a CTA member and emailed the union to ask why they're spending teachers' money on this issue that does not relate at all to teacher pay, benefits, and working conditions. What follows is the email dialog between Dan and CTA, and Dan has given me permission to post it here.

To Whom It May Concern;

I am a full dues paying member, and I am voting no on Proposition 8 for both ethical and practical reasons.

That said, I am appalled that our association has spent a dime, let alone $1.25 million in fighting this proposition. Would someone please get back to me about how the passage or failure of this proposition affects my working conditions? Because if it doesn't, I don't want my money being spent on it.

I have no problem with CTA making endorsements, even though I disagree roughly 75% of the time. But, when it comes to spending the money, I need it going towards things that might make it easier to get a raise that at least keeps up with the rate of inflation, or class sizes that are below 36. I don't need you sticking your neck out to make sure that homosexuals can marry, even though I agree that it's right.

Would someone please get back to me with the rationale behind this spending decision?

Two minutes after sending that, Dan received the following response from CTA:

Thank you for your email. In June, the CTA State Council of Education, CTA's top governing body that is comprised of more than 800 democratically elected educators from across the state, voted to oppose Proposition 8. CTA believes that all people should be allowed equal protections under the law. CTA policy states that the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage and civil unions belong to all adults. No one group should be singled out and treated differently.

However, as with any election or initiative, CTA only makes recommendations. The final choice is always up to you.

Thank you for the work you do every day for the students of California .

Darren's commentary: I can't stand how CTA and NEA always hide behind the "democratically elected" charade. The Supreme Soviet was "democratically elected", too.

Thanks for the quick, almost form-like response. However, you did not address my concern -- I agree with the platform plank, which would lead to a "no" endorsement. However, it is not an issue we should be spending money on. Would you please address that issue specifically, letting me know why it is to my benefit as an educator that this proposition not pass? Because if it doesn't benefit me, I shouldn't be forced to pay for its defeat.

Darren's commentary: Note that Dan apparently agrees with me that if it doesn't affect teacher pay, benefits, and working conditions, then CTA shouldn't be spending teachers' money, time, and effort on it.

CTA campaigns for initiatives when they have a recommended position from the CTA State Council. In this instance the Council took the position of oppose on Proposition 8 as we have policy on non-discrimination. Many teachers will have benefit from defeat of this initiative.

Darren's commentary: Many teachers will benefit if President Bush's tax cuts are extended--but CTA won't support that in an Obama presidency. Hmmm, I wonder why. No, actually I don't; I know why.

Please, understand . . . I agree with the association's position. What I don't understand is how "many teachers will benefit from the defeat of this initiative." How will this happen? What, precisely, will be the benefit? And again -- I support the stance -- I just don't support the funding.


Darren's commentary: no surprise they have no response. The actual reason is because they can. They entitled to all teachers' money by law, therefore they are not accountable at all for how they spend it.


Doug said...

"However, as with any election or initiative, CTA only makes recommendations. The final choice is always up to you."
And we'll decide what to do with YOUR money.
Deal with it!

neko said...

"...comprised of more than 800 democratically elected educators..."

Shouldn't that be Democrat elected?

Anonymous said...

Oddly, CTA has failed to get back to me on the last point.

Odder still is that someone associated with education can write the sentence "Many teachers will have benefit" and still keep her job . . .


P.S.: Thanks for airing this.

Anonymous said...

One million dollars! That's how much the CTA kicked in TODAY!!!

And that's on top of the thousands they had previously donated to the NO on PROP 8 cause.
They said they made the extra $1M because NO on PROP 8 is 'struggling'.

Where, in the California State Content Standards, do teachers teach that "(CTA believes) all people should be allowed equal protections under the law"?

Same sex couples have every, that's EVERY protection under law, already!

Why does the CTA want to change the definition of marriage???

You will be so very happy about becoming a Fee Payer, but ALL teachers need to protest by opting out and becoming fee payers...
Yes we can, Yes we can, Yes we can!

Contact the National Right to Work website (, and get your political monies (about $400) back - but do it before November 15th.

After that, it will be pro-rated, but you can still opt out anytime throughout the year, and you will still get a check. Don't let same-sex marriage, and Jesse Jackson, and Donna Brazil get your money (Yes they do, Yes they do, Yes they do). Keep your money and your dignity as a professional educator!

Two-thirds of your dues money will still be in the union coffers, for 'collective bargaining'. (After all, those 800 folks in the CTA need to negotiate in Hawaii, Tahiti, Mexico... and various other locations - for YOU!!!)

But you get one-third of your dues back in the form of a check. YES, a check in your hand. Something for Christmas. It's the political money...honey.

The only thing you can't do as a Fee Payer, is VOTE (for those 800 not-so-democratically-voted-on-union-delegates which made the decision to endorse Same Sex Marriage in the first place - oh didn't you know that...?) - and you can't attend union meetings. Big Deal!!! Wouldn't you much rather be in your classroom working on Lesson Plans? Those meetings are a waste of time, because the only way you found out that YOUR money was going to the NO ON PROP 8 campaign, is because you read it in the newspaper (or here)! They didn't mention it at the,okay...
You pay your agency fee, or your fair share, and you don't have to worry about your money being used for things you don't support - EVER AGAIN. Well, at least not until next school year, when you repeat the process and get ALL of your political money back between September 1st and November 15th (did you hear...nearly $400???).

Do this Year after Year after Year after Year...or until some wise Governor signs away this forced unionism in our State.

If you keep your money in the political coffers THIS YEAR, don't be surprised if Prop 8 FAILS. It will be YOUR fault. No matter how you vote, your CTA Teacher Dues money is supporting NO ON PROP 8.

CTA is the largest donor trying to defeat Prop 8, and the major sponsor of Same Sex Marriage in the STATE!

These are times when every dime you make counts...and Christmas/Hannukah is coming!!!


Darren said...

Before contacting NRTW, California teachers should contact the California Teachers Empowerment Network. Our web site,, has a wealth of information about the CTA/NEA, and the link at discusses options--including becoming an agency fee payer.

As for you, Donalbain, I didn't post your last comment because I found it offensive. The one just above almost didn't pass that test.

Now let me correct *you*. When a school teaches that something is acceptable, it's "promoting" it. You can trash the WorldNetDaily story--I certainly won't link to them--but I wrote about the Massachusetts situation almost two years ago: .

Donalbain said...

The book in question says nothing about acceptability of Judaism, being black, step families or any other type of family. It simply acknowledges that they exist. That is a FACT.

Darren said...

What are you smoking, Donalbain? This post isn't about the merits or demerits of Prop 8, it's about CTA's spending forced dues money to promote a political agenda that has nothing to do with teacher pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Please try to stay with the program here.

Jeff said...

Another thing unhappy CTA members can do is to request the blue opt-out card from their membership chairperson. This allows each member to demand that NONE of his/her dues are used for political purposes, but still keeps you as a member with the legal representation and all the other benefits.

Was the $20 dues increase mentioned here? We can opt out of that also using the form right on the CTA homepage (lower left). Get it in SOON.

Darren said...

The blue opt-out card is really only an accounting trick. They're still getting your money.

And no, I didn't mention the $20 "voluntary" contribution here. This post wasn't about that. There are many things about CTA that are negative--didn't need to mention *all* of them in this post.

Anonymous said...

At my school site even our most liberal teachers are angry about the money being poured out by the CTA to defeat PROP 8.
Our Union Rep is furious!
Hope they will contact CTEN or NRTW...but they probably won't. They'll stay in the union and fuss and cuss year after year, as the Union takes more and more liberties with their dues money.
And...hey Darren, why did the Anonymous comment made just above the one you made about Donalbain's...'almost not pass the test'?
Was it because NRTW was recommended, rather than CTEN?
If so, sorry about that. I just happened to opt out through NRTW...but CTEN is great, too.

Just not sure why my comment almost failed your test?

Darren said...

The "one just above" also referred to one of Donalbain's comments. It appears that Donalbain's comment is now gone; perhaps he deleted it. For some reason I no longer have the ability to delete comments, so perhaps he deleted it himself.

CaliforniaCrusader said...

Thanks for the great post! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only teacher out there that thought this CTA donation was a little fishy. It's nice to read from others who felt the same way. If your readers would like to see a great youtube video from a teacher in response to the CTA donation, it's here on my blog at:
And, I'll make sure to send my readers to you as you post more about Prop 8!

Darren said...

I've probably posted about as much as I'm going to post on Prop 8, but send readers over anyway!