Texas Teachers Unions Are Working Hard To Buy Republicans

By Rick Gonzales | Published

teachers union

They say that money talks and that is exactly what three Texas teacher’s unions are hoping for. These unions, so far, have contributed thousands of dollars during the 2022 election cycle. The beneficiaries of this financial outpouring are Republicans who find themselves in competitive state legislature primaries.

The three teacher’s unions in question – Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA), National Education Association affiliate Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA), and the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) – have handed over a total of $83,500 during the 2022 primary cycle. The funds have found homes with 23 Republicans running for the state legislature and the state school board. Of those 23 candidates, 22 are running in tightly contested primaries, while 17 of those are incumbents.

So, why the sudden Republican financial support by the teacher’s unions? The tactic change came shortly after the Texas legislature’s ban on public school’s approach to teaching that suggested: “an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.” This falls into the category of critical race theory, something Texas is slowly trying to root out. The bill, which was passed in June 2021, was the same one that a number of other states passed to ban critical race theory from being taught in public schools. Every state House and Senate Republican supported the legislation.

teachers unions

When the legislation passed, all three teachers’ unions criticized its passing, with the TSTA going so far as to call it a “sinister” play to “intimidate teachers into whitewashing the racism that has plagued our nation’s history and downplaying the results of racism today.” Perhaps this is where much of the frustration lies with parents across the country. Teacher’s unions, school districts, and teachers alike claim critical race theory is not being taught in public schools, but then TSTA comes out with this type of statement.

The Texas teacher’s unions have been smart about who they are funding as a number of candidates with public education backgrounds receive the most combined monies. Taking in a total of $7,000 from ATPE and TCTA is State Rep. Ken King. King served for five years on a local school board. Barron Casteel, the former mayor of New Braunfels, received an initial endorsement from the American Federation of Teachers Texas affiliate in his campaign for the 73rd House District, but they have since removed his endorsement.

When it comes to contribution limits, Texas doesn’t have any for elections to the state legislature. 17 Republican candidates were given $60,500 by the ATPE and its ATPE-PAC, which was the most given by any teachers union. They gave $10,000 to David Spiller, the state Rep., and former local school board trustee. Spiller received the most financial gain while nine other candidates received a $5,000 bump.

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The backing of Texas Republicans is a sharp cry from what had been seen on the national level during past election cycles. Nationally, teachers’ unions overwhelmingly support Democrats. During the 2020 election cycle, the National Education Association spent $48 million, and 94% of that went into Democrat pockets.

The agenda is clear, though, as Texas Republicans and the powerful teacher’s unions move through the 2022 election cycle. The unions are pushing to implement critical race theory as part of public-school education. But to get it, they will need to have Republicans on their side. It remains to be seen if the teacher’s unions’ campaign contributions will be the tipping point or not.