Winning Poster in Teachers’ Union Contest Uses Soviet-Style Imagery

The National Education Association—the nation’s largest teachers’ union—has made some moves recently to shore up its political action contributions. At the union’s annual assembly, delegates to the NEA approved a constitutional bylaw amendment that opened up membership to “community allies.”

Community Ally membership shall be open to any person interested in advancing the cause of public education, who supports the mission, vision, and core values of the Association, and who is not eligible for any other NEA membership category.

For $25 a year, community allies will receive small perks, such as members-only discounts to local restaurants and vendors, but the biggest advantage with this new membership category is for the NEA’s PAC, according to union expert Mike Antonucci.

Federal law forbids unions from soliciting and collecting PAC donations from nonmembers. Become a member, and you can instantly contribute up to $5,000 a year.

The union’s PAC, the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, could use the help. Contributions peaked at nearly $6.3 million during the 2010 election cycle. They have fallen every cycle since, down to just under $4.3 million in 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

I wonder if donations are down because NEA’s members are growing weary of funding political objectives and candidates who don’t align with their own personal beliefs. Teachers have voiced concern over how hyper-focused the union is on politics and would like the union to focus more on meeting teachers’ day-to-day needs. For some teachers, that concern is leading them to opt-out of union membership to get the attention of the union in hopes of reforming it. For others, they are choosing to opt-out because the union does not make their professional needs a priority. (Minnesota teachers can make this choice in September. Visit here for more details and support.)

The PAC held a contest to design a campaign 2020 poster, and members interested in a copy of the winning poster could get one if they contributed $30 or more to the PAC, reported Mike Antonucci. Here is the winning poster by an art teacher in Utah:

Source: NEA

The NEA announced the winner by including a short bio of the teacher that stated his “entry references the Soviet propaganda posters he uses in class to teach basic design principles.”

I’ll give Mike Antonucci the last word:

Some may think that fits, but I consider it ironic to use communist imagery to raise campaign contributions from the proletariat for a multimillion-dollar PAC of a $1.62 billion organization.