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Blogger RiShawn Biddle has made a startling discovery: the American Federation of Teachers has given money to progressive groups! Biddle is anti-union and strongly pro-privatization.
Another shocker: Randi Weingarten is paid almost as much as NYC charter leader Eva Moskowitz! Randi is president of a union with more than one million members. Eva oversees a small charter chain with fewer than 10,000 pupils (errata: scholars).
Biddle lists the organizations that have received AFT money. Included among them are:
Center for Popular Democracy, on whose board Weingarten sits, picked up $60,000 from AFT while its action fund received another $100,000; the group has done more than its duty for the union (and its goal of opposing school choice) by teaming up with In The Public Interest to publish a series of reports demanding “accountability” for public charter schools. In The Public Interest, by the way, picked up $50,000 from AFT for doing the union’s bidding. AFT gave $25,000 to Netroots Nation, another longstanding beneficiary of its largesse. It gave $27,000 to The Nation, which has become a prime venue for pieces that favor the AFT’s views on systemic reform; and handed $10,000 to Dissent, the progressive magazine that occasionally makes The Nation seem downright conservative.
Another key group AFT is funding is the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which has been worked actively on pay equity and other issues. This includes its Early Care and Education project, which has issued a steady stream of reports calling for preschool teachers to be better-paid; this dovetails nicely with AFT’s twin goals of regaining dominance in education policy and becoming the dominant union in the early childhood education space. The union gave $47,500 to IWPR in 2014-2015. AFT also poured $60,000 into Jobs with Justice and its education fund; gave $20,000 to Policy Matters Ohio; and handed out $50,000 to Public Policy and Education Fund of New York. United Students Against Sweatshops, which has actively opposed reform outfits such as Students For Education Reform and Teach for America on behalf of AFT, picked up $50,000 from the union last year. Americans United for Change picked up $90,000 from AFT in 2014-2015.
AFT also gave $250,000 to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which reports on the state of working Americans and on the importance of reducing poverty. Shocking!
If you scan the schedule, you will see that Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union was bought and paid for by the AFT for $7,664.
I can’t wait for RiShawn to do a report on the Walton Family Foundation, which spent $202 million to shape education policy and launch more privatized schools. I didn’t sum the total of all AFT contributions to civil rights groups, publications, and other progressive causes, but it seems to be far less than Walton’s $202 million.