The NJEA Political Leadership Academy (PLA), which trains NJEA members to run for public office, must have had a busy 2020. The NJEA reports that another 250 members ran for political office in NJ in 2020. That makes a total of 1,560 NJEA members that have run for office from 2015 to 2020.
The NJEA’s own words make clear that each one of these NJEA members represents a potential conflict of interest. As the NJEA says: “No one in public office will speak up as strongly for public education as our own members. And: “It’s no longer enough to lobby decision-makers. We must become decision-makers.” The facts are that the NJEA trains these candidates, supports their campaigns and then expects them to “speak up strongly for public education,” or in other words, look out for the interests of the NJEA. So citizens of these locales can expect more eduction spending, higher property taxes and more influential local unions.
The crazy thing is that taxpayers are funding all of this. Teachers are essentially forced to join the NJEA and have their highest-in-the-nation dues withheld from their paychecks – 70% of which flow to the NJEA (only 12% stays local). So teachers act as pass-throughs for tax dollars to flow directly to the NJEA, which uses most of that money on politics, including the PLA.
This money then gets NJEA members elected to office, who then look out for the union’s interests. NJ taxpayers are thus forced to use their own tax dollars in the service of the NJEA. What a rigged system.