Here’s what the national teachers’ union will push for under Biden

The National Education Association (NEA) has released its 54-page “Policy Playbook“—a list of policies at the federal level the teachers’ union wants the Biden administration to prioritize.

The report’s introduction begins by claiming NEA has more than 3 million members, but according to its most recently available federal filing (which is self-reported) the teachers’ union has under 3 million members, at 2,975,933. The introduction also states that 1 in 100 Americans is an NEA member, but according to union expert Mike Antonucci, about 1 in 111 Americans is an NEA member.

In conjunction with the Policy Playbook, the NEA released a statement that included the country “need[ing] an unadulterated national repudiation of white supremacist culture” and the expectation that the Biden administration will make sure “no haven exists for hate crimes, white supremacy, and anti-immigrant policies.”

Minnesota educators who are members of Education Minnesota pay the NEA $251.16 a year in dues, according to Education Minnesota’s membership form. Below are some of the NEA’s recommendations that span 27 policy areas. You can read all of the union’s proposals here.

Assessments

  • Suspend federal testing requirements until after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

Charter Schools

  • Oppose all charter school expansion that undermines traditional public schools. [Charter schools serve many families of color and low-income families.]
  • Bar federal funding to charter schools, charter school authorizers, and charter school management companies not authorized or operated by local school districts.
  • Oppose charter schools that operate entirely online.

College

  • Make community college free and eliminate costs for the first four years at all public higher education institutions, including minority-serving institutions.
  • Cancel the student loan debts of experienced educators.

Education Funding

  • Reach an agreement with Congress on at least $175 billion in additional federal emergency aid to stabilize public education funding.
  • Quadruple the federal investment in Title I.

COVID-19

  • Implement a nationwide mask mandate and condition COVID-19 relief funding on implementation of effective mitigation strategies.

Judicial

  • Add additional judgeships to the federal district and circuit courts.
  • Add associate justice seats to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • [Basically, pack the federal courts.]

Private Schools

  • Oppose the enactment of any new voucher program, including education savings accounts and tuition tax credit “schemes,” or the expansion of existing programs. [These programs serve many families of color and low-income families.]
  • Repeal the expansion of Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code that permits the use of distributions from education savings plans for qualified elementary and secondary education expenses.
  • Discontinue funding of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act. [This is a D.C. scholarship program for low-income families.]

School Discipline

  • Train educators in restorative justice practices.
  • Spur investment in programs that assist schools in eliminating or reducing the role of school resource officers (SROs).

Taxes

  • Strengthen the estate tax for the purpose of funding public education.
  • Oppose “arbitrary maximum limits on any state or local government’s ability to spend or tax.”

Voting

  • Limit the influence of corporations and wealthy special interests [wait, like you, NEA?] in campaigns.

Workers’ Rights

  • Condition federal education funding on state and local laws or policies permitting collective bargaining.