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Teacher-hero Rebecca Friedrichs goes to Washington

Rebecca Friedrichs, a 28-year veteran teacher and the name behind the game-changing legal case (Friedrichs v. CTA) that paved the way for government employee freedom, recently met with the Trump administration to discuss the importance of school choice and how state and national teachers’ unions are destroying educational opportunity for parents and students.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senators Cruz and Lee, Advisor Conway, and representatives from the American Federation for Children listened as Friedrichs explained that America’s great teachers support school choice because “we believe in putting the children first.” Self-serving unions, on the other hand, put “hundreds of millions of our dues money into defeating choice.”

The Janus v. AFSCME case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court after Friedrichs v. CTA deadlocked due to the unfortunate death of Justice Scalia, freed government workers (including teachers) from being forced to financially support public-sector unions. With newly restored First Amendment rights, teachers across the country have a meaningful opportunity (like through the Center’s Educated Teachers MN project) to evaluate their relationship with the union and opt-out of union membership if they choose. And many are exercising that right.

But the teachers’ unions still have a stronghold, according to Friedrichs, and are “claim[ing] to speak for teachers” when in fact “they do not.”

“They have harshly bullied great teachers for decades, they have silenced our voice, and they are chasing many great teachers out of the classroom.

America’s great teachers believe that parents and teachers must be empowered to work together. All children should receive outstanding education in a safe school of their family’s choice. Unions masquerading as teachers will fight education freedom, tooth and nail.

Too many students are caught in a failing school system, but efforts to free them from the trap of mediocrity are underway in the form of tax credit scholarships.

“We’re not fighting for more federal encroachment in education, we’re fighting for simple state adopted tax credits for folks who supply scholarship donations to needy kids. Education Freedom Scholarships have produced amazing results in several states. We’re hoping millions more children, families and teachers can benefit,” Friedrichs said in an email from her organization For Kids & Country. The Center has hosted Mrs. Friedrichs on several different occasions and applauds her for standing up for educators and students alike.

Education freedom for every student is vital to ensuring all students are set up for a successful future. In Minnesota, our persistent academic achievement gaps and stagnant test scores show changes are needed to ensure no child slips through the cracks. Expanded school choice would be a great place to start.

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