The Indiana teachers’ union rally: ‘Circus, but no bread’

As another teachers’ union-led demonstration keeps students out of school, the national headlines covering the rally only focus on part of the story.

Organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association, the union’s “Red for Ed Action Day” closed down 147 Indiana school districts on Tuesday as teachers marched around the Statehouse demanding higher pay and more school funding.

But there are several noteworthy stories about the Indiana teachers’ union and its troubling history that didn’t receive national media attention, as shared by union reporter Mike Antonucci.

* The 2009 bankruptcy and dissolution of the union’s insurance trust due to mismanagement of funds.

In a lawsuit against the Indiana State Teachers Association and its national parent the National Education Association, the state of Indiana alleged the two unions “sold health plans to school corporations but misrepresented the securities and the fund balances. Fund revenue was illegally invested in risky securities that fell in value and ISTA pooled money from the schools to cover shortfalls in the long-term disability plan.”

* The National Education Association owns the ISTA headquarters building as collateral for debt — $8.1 million of which the national union wrote off as bad debt.

The national union’s real estate holding company NEA Properties, Inc. was created solely for the purpose of bailing out the Indiana teachers’ union. How’s that for a good use of dues money.

* When presented with evidence that the state was not facing a widespread teacher shortage, the ISTA president replied, “Who cares what the data says?

* The president of ISTA’s Indianapolis local was forced to resign after allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 in dues.