More from the NJEA’s 2019 tax return, this time on the NJEA’s network of allies. Sunlight’s readers know that the NJEA’s generous funding of its allies is a big part of how it wields its dominant influence over New Jersey’s political system. These allies help execute the NJEA’s agenda by giving it the appearance of broader support and by helping to cloak the NJEA’s hand. So it came as little suppose that the NJEA continued to support its most important allies in 2019.
Education Law Center (ELC): The NJEA gave ELC $570,000 in 2019, bringing its total funding of ELC to $4,312,000. Of course, the ELC has returned the favors by wholeheartedly embracing the NJEA’s agenda. The ELC has taken the lead in blocking charter schools, a perennial top policy goal of the NJEA. The ELC can also be counted on to push for increased state education aid, also a top NJEA priority. It’s pretty clear why the ELC has been described as the legal arm of the NJEA.
New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP): The NJEA gave $200,000 in 2019, bringing its total to $895,000. As Sunlight has documented over and over, NJPP (and in particular Mark Weber and Bruce Baker) has consistently provided “research” to support the NJEA’s favored policies. As we have also documented, Weber and Baker cut corners and engage in substandard research in order to reach the desired conclusions. NJPP’s usefulness to the NJEA can be seen in the way New Jersey media unquestioningly take NJPP “research” at face value, thereby cloaking their advocacy of the NJEA’s agenda and giving it the veneer of academic credibility. When it comes to education policy, NJPP should be thought of as the academic arm of the NJEA.
New Jersey Working Families Alliance (NJWFA): The NJEA gave NJWFA $25,000 in 2019, bringing the total to $855,000. The NJEA also regularly pays NJWFA to get out the vote for favored candidates like $89,000 in support of NJEA President/Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller. In fact, in 2019, the NJEA’s Super PAC paid NJWFA $50,000 for GOTV in the general election. So the NJEA’s support for NJWFA in 2019 was in reality $75,000 and its total comes to over $1 million. When New Jerseyans see NJWFA in action, they should think “foot soldiers for the NJEA.”
Remember that these NJEA contributions are entirely funded by regular teachers’ highest-in-the-nation dues and that regular teachers have little say in how this money is spent. In any event, the NJEA’s 2019 tax return tells us that ELC, NJPP and NJWFA can continue to be fairly described as the legal, academic and GOTV arms of the NJEA.