News Story

National Teachers Union Boasts of Having 'Conservative' Members While Undermining Their Values

NEA agenda includes global warming extremism, abortion and other non-education issues

The agenda for the National Education Association's recent annual conference may surprise those who thought the big school employee union's mission was to represent teachers in the workplace. It was in fact a political agenda dominated by buzzwords of the left: “social justice,” “institutional racism,” “family planning clinics,” and “climate disruption.”

Among other action items, the NEA resolved to develop materials its affiliates can use to spread the word about “the potential dangers of so-called ‘religious freedom restoration acts’ … which may license individuals and corporations to discriminate on the theory that their religious beliefs require such actions.”

It also resolved to push the incorporation of “social justice” into teaching practices; correct “inaccurate information” in American History textbooks about the aftermath of the Civil War; educate school districts about products and brands put out by the Koch Brothers; and warn them about “various think tanks” like the American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans For Prosperity.

It all resembles a platform one might see at a left-wing political conference rather than an organization that supposedly exists to negotiate better terms of employment for school employees — much less from an organization that has boasted in the past of representing many teachers who are conservatives.

For example, the Michigan Education Association, an affiliate of the NEA, reported statistics in its October 2010 Voice magazine showing that 45 percent of teachers under the age of 30 classified themselves as "conservative," as did 63 percent of teachers between 40 to 49. In addition to larger amounts paid to the state affiliate, full-time public school employees who are members of the Michigan Education Association also paid annual dues to the NEA of $183 in 2014-15, according to the MEA.

“They do nothing at all politically conservative,” said Larry Sand, a former teacher and president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network in Los Angeles. “If you go through who they give money to, it’s the 'who’s who' of the left. They give no consideration to their conservative members.”

From 1989 to 2015, the National Education Association made $93 million in political contributions, of which 97 percent went to liberals or Democrats, according to

The NEA’s spokesman Richard Allen Smith did not return an email seeking comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.