National teachers’ union political agenda is so far left even the Democratic Party won’t endorse it

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) held its biennial convention virtually this year. In true teachers’ union fashion, the convention was ideologically driven and focused on non-educational policy. In fact, the union’s political agenda includes policy ideas that “are so far to the left even the Democratic Party won’t touch them,” writes Frederick Hess with the American Enterprise Institute.

There was the resolution proclaiming that “Trump is openly establishing himself as a despot, ready to reject all democratic norms in pursuit of mobilizing his racist right-wing base and consolidating a regime of tyranny.” The policy agenda could have prompted complaints of plagiarism from Bernie Sanders. The AFT endorsed “a Green New Deal,” increased marginal tax rates of up to 70 or 80 percent, a “Billionaire Net Worth Tax,” cutting defense spending by at least 10 percent and “single-payer” health care or “a public option” by 2025. It also wants Washington to explore banning for-profit hospitals and reviewing “the charitable status of nonprofit hospitals.”

… A recently released 80-page draft of the 2020 Democratic Party platform contained no mention of an 80 percent top marginal tax rate, nor of a billionaire’s wealth tax. Neither was there anything about stripping nonprofit hospitals of their charitable status or slashing defense spending. At a time when parents are stressed by the demands of remote instruction, schools are floundering to reopen, and the average student has lost perhaps a half-year of learning, the AFT apparently deemed this a terrific moment to crib from the Wellesley student government wish-list.

AFT locals, including the St. Paul Federation of Educators, have also been more focused on an ideological wish list, joining the Democratic Socialists of America to make school re-opening “demands” that include a moratorium on new charter schools and private school choice, a moratorium on standardized testing, new taxes on the wealthy, a halt to home foreclosures, and more.

As Hess appropriately concludes, the teachers’ union focus is a “travesty and a professional abdication” because it is using “students and school opening as a bargaining chip to push a policy agenda that couldn’t even carry the day in the Democratic presidential primaries.”

If you are a teacher who disagrees with the union’s monopoly power over the education of our children, join our community of educators at Let Education Minnesota know its priorities are out of touch by opting out of union membership during the annual September Window (Sept. 1-30). If you create your letter here in advance, Educated Teachers MN will remind you by email to send your resignation letter in during the window.