Elected by the people, paid by the teachers’ union
I am a rock. I am an island.Paul Simon
Poor Cedrick Frasier. The State Representative from New Hope is taking heat from the press about his glaring conflict of interest getting paid by the teachers’ union while trying to represent his constituents. He told the Reformer:
“I’m almost on an island now. I’m not engaged in conversations on policy or any type of legislative priorities. I’ve been walled off.”
Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union, spent $1 million lobbying the legislature in 2019, the fourth highest amount spent among statewide organizations. They also spent $4 million helping Democratic candidates in the 2020 election.
Rep. Fraizer is carrying legislation to change the teacher licensing system to make it harder for teachers to get certified if they do not go through the traditional four-year education degree process. This fences out career professionals who want to take their life experience and bring it to the classroom, especially in the STEM fields.
This type of teacher (one with life experience) is less likely to sign up for the union and give away dues money so Education Minnesota can spend it to elect more Democrats to the State Legislature like Rep. Fraizer.
Even the recent bipartisan push to add more teachers of color is getting caught up in the licensure debate, with the union pushing bills that actually make it harder for teachers of color to get licensed and begin teaching.
According to the Reformer:
Frazier said he doesn’t see any conflicts of interest between his work as a legislator and at Education Minnesota. The bills were developed by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board with feedback from focus groups, education organizations and school administrators.
It’s just a coincidence his legislative agenda lines up with his employer’s best interests.
Many legislators have potential conflicts of interest when they arrive at the Capitol. Most are conscientious enough to avoid promoting legislation that directly benefits their occupation or employer. Obviously, Rep. Frazier is not burdened by such pedestrian ethics.