Teacher Unions across the nation face more criticism than ever before. There is a long list of reasons for this, including lobbying, controversial COVID protocol demands, and a newfound exposé that depicted how the nation’s largest union called on the government to send national guard troops into school board meetings to deal with parents opposed to public school practices. Because of all these reasons for the waning trust in their existence and leverage over public education, unions are seeing swift declines in enrollment. This is the case in point for the California Teachers Union. But despite their hefty drop in enrollment, they are making more money than ever, and increasing union leaders’ salary’s to boot.
The 74 recently released an exclusive report about the suspicious findings within the California Teachers Union’s annual report. The union, which has lost more than 35,000 members in the past five years, lost another 4,000 members just in the last three months. Despite this major reduction, the union will collect $2.3 million more in funding than last year, bringing the group’s total tax-exempt funding to a whopping $214 million.
To make these findings even more scandalous, the California Teachers Union will give its top leaders a generous salary increase, despite its continuous decline in support and membership. The union’s three executive officers are slated to receive a combined increase of about $75,000 dollars. Even more alarming, is that the union will impose union due increases as well. Starting next school year, teachers will have to pay $768 to the union to retain membership.
To put some of this into perspective, a deeper look into union leaders’ pay gives some insight. California Teachers Union managers’ pay ranges anywhere from $206,000 to $264,000 per year. The average pay of a teacher in the state of California is only $61,259, with some receiving as little as $41,997 a year. Additionally, no union employee in the association makes less than $56,448, despite their position.
Considering the state of affairs within the California Teachers Union, it is bewildering to many to see them so lackadaisically shell out these salary increases, all while losing general support from both parents and teachers. One union leader, secretary-treasurer Leslie Littman even made note of the dismal state of the union, acknowledging that the group expects to see more membership declines over the years to come.
In a statement, Littman pointed out various reasons the California Teachers Union is losing support and membership. For one, California is seeing a drastic drop in public school enrollment. To this, she noted that California is projected to see a 9% decline in public school enrollment over the next decade. Similarly, she even addressed parent frustration with California public schools, which was brought on by the pandemic. As teacher unions rallied to keep schools closed, more parents looked to alternatives like homeschooling and private school. In The Golden State, most school districts didn’t go back to in-school classes until the fall of 2021, at the request of union leaders.
All of these controversial findings in the California Teachers Union annual report are just one more reason why a growing number of Americans feel that teachers’ unions have been detrimental to the decline of the nation’s public education system. More and more, families are feeling a sense that public schools are serving union demands, rather than being for the needs of students and parents. It is also why there is an increase in public outcry, calling for the abolishment of teacher unions altogether.