The NJEA’s Super PAC, Garden State Forward, looks like it has spent $205,342 on New Jersey school board races. So far. This makes sense, as the NJEA has launched a multi-pronged, statewide campaign against the wave of parents seeking greater control over their schools, and $200,000 in mailers would strongly augment the campaign.
Here are the various elements of the NJEA’s campaign:
- TV ads labeling parents as “extremists;”
- A dedicated NJEA website with a “reporting tool” so teachers can inform on parents and the NJEA can conduct opposition research on them;
- NJEA staff members being sent to locals across the state to prod teachers to be active in school board elections;
- Training and support for union-friendly candidates from NJEA-hired Working Families Alliance; and
- A newly formed dark money Super PAC aimed at school board races.
Inadequate disclosure points to school board races. Once again, due to inadequate disclosure, we do not know where the NJEA is directing these mailers. Where the ELEC form asks for “Legal Name of Election District or Municipality,” the NJEA answers “Statewide,” which has been a common way for the NJEA to obscure where it is making independent expenditures. We can surmise that the spending is on school board races because the expenditures are described as “Nonpartisan,” and in New Jersey school board races are nonpartisan, while municipal, legislative and congressional elections are all partisan elections.
Paid for by teachers’ dues. By using Garden State Forward, the NJEA is choosing to use teachers’ regular dues to stack the deck for its preferred candidates, regardless of whether teachers support those candidates or want to be involved in local politics. They have no say in the matter.
NJEA all-in against parents. This substantial independent expenditure further confirms that the NJEA is all-in in its fight to protect union-dominated status quos from parents who dare to challenge them. $200,000 can go a long way in typically low-budget school board races, where candidates often fund themselves. And it’s certainly possible that the NJEA is spending more.
It’s the NJEA against parents with teachers caught in the middle.