Standing Up For Teachers' Rights - By Jim Blew

An important new lawsuit has been filed in federal district court that aims to keep teachers from having to decide between their employment benefits and core political beliefs.

StudentsFirst is supporting the plaintiffs in the case of Bain v. CTA in hopes of protecting the First Amendment rights of teachers across the state of California. Our organization has agreed to provide financial support for this case so that these teachers can have their day in court.

This case is not about the unions' right to collectively bargain contracts for their members. It doesn’t challenge the requirement that teachers contribute dues that support the union’s core functions. It will have no impact on the collective bargaining revenue that unions collect or their ability to put that money towards vigorous representation of California teachers.

The case is simply about protecting teachers from being coerced into supporting politics they don’t believe in. Every teacher has the right to do what she or he feels is right when it comes to spending political money. We agree with the plaintiffs in this case who believe that those decisions should not be made for them by their union.

StudentsFirst believes in doing everything possible to elevate the teaching profession. Making the classroom an environment that attracts the brightest and most passionate minds possible helps ensure our kids the schools they deserve.  And there’s no better way to accomplish this than to protect the rights of teachers and make certain they are never treated as second-class citizens. This case is an opportunity to stand up for teachers who are being put in the unfair position of being forced to fund political causes they don’t support in exchange for employment-related benefits.

Our goal is to give a voice to all teachers, to encourage an active, civil discussion about what’s right for our schools, our teachers, and most importantly our students.  The Bain case is an important step toward ensuring teachers can continue to be focused on their classroom, and not concerned with how their money is being spent in Sacramento and in political races around the state.


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