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.