Idaho Citizens for

Good Government

Teachers Unions and your Tax Dolars

On Mar 7, 2024, Brian Almon from Gem State Chronicle [email protected] wrote:

Special interests think they have a right to your money
On Thursday, the House defeated H602, which would have prohibited tax dollars from going to public sector unions, such as the Idaho Teacher’s Association. Several representatives, including Barb Ehardt, admitted later that they mistakenly voted no, but a motion to reconsider the vote failed later that afternoon.

My friends at Think Liberty Idaho clipped some of the committee debate on this bill. Watch it here. Notice all the union representatives arguing against this bill, including the Professional Firefighters of Idaho, whose private legislative update leaked last week. As that leaked document showed, unions exert a lot of influence in our Legislature, and Thursday’s vote proved it. Right now, teacher’s unions have sole negotiating power in many, if not all public school districts, and their contracts give them paid time off for both union activities and electioneering.
Bob Shillingstad recently submitted a guest editorial to the Gem State Chronicle about the relationship between the teacher’s unions and the public school system and it is well worth reading. He ended his article with four suggestions for citizens who want better accountability in our system:

Here are some suggestions to advocate today by concerned taxpayers:

  1. Demand an election to be sure the union represents a majority of the teachers in the district
  2. Support a voucher type system similar to Arizona or South Dakota that empowers parents to choose the education for their children.
  3. Hold the school boards of the government run schools accountable that they retain the management rights to run the schools as they see fit (the union has the right to advocate for pay and benefits but that is all in the agreement)
  4. All negotiations should be public and the labor agreement with the union presented to the public and not hidden.

The taxpayers deserve no less.
The current public school system is a locked box in which teacher’s unions and activist organizations decide what a great majority of children in this country learn. The system is very defensive of itself, as anyone who watches committee hearings understands. Our Legislature can’t muster the courage to stop funneling tax dollars to the unions, much less provide real universal school choice to Idaho families.
We must confront a fundamental question: Is the purpose of our government to protect our rights, or is it to extract money and resources from productive Idahoans and give them to special interests? Old guard Republicans are defenders of the old system, while a new generations of populists are rising up with the crazy idea that a government of the people should serve the people, not public sector unions, big businesses, and special interests.
Defenders of the old system are going to fight hard to maintain their power, which means the grassroots must fight even harder. Election Day is May 21. The next two months are going to be intense, because the liberty and prosperity of the next generation of Idahoans is at stake. Will we continue living in an oligarchy, where your time and energy are earmarked for special interests? Or will we once again be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? It’s time to get in the game.