Dear Editor,

Over several months, I have received mailings from the Commonwealth Foundation, as you have as well. These mailings have targeted teacher unions and their political involvement. As good as their intentions may be, the information they are feeding you is not based on fact, is totally misleading, and (hate to say it) an outright lie. They are preying on the emotions of the general public who, for the most part, have no real clue how political actions by an educational union may be engaged.

This last mailing has "John, PA Special Education Teacher" claiming he is "forced to support issues I disagree with. It's wrong." This alleged "John" is 100 percent right. He shouldn't be forced to support anything he doesn't feel is in his best interest.

But I don't know how this "John" joined a teacher union and was not aware that none of his dues dollars are allowed to be used for political action. Not one single penny can be used for political action.

Any money used by the union for such a purpose must be voluntary and cannot be assessed year to year unless you agree to it. There are serious checks and balances by the state to ensure this is not violated. If "John" donated to a political action on the part of the union but disagreed with their direction, shame on "John," not the union.

It troubles me greatly that organizations like the Commonwealth Foundation can spew such corrupt and false information without spelling out all the facts. No teacher in Pennsylvania has an obligation to support any political action. If they do, they do it voluntarily.

There is not now, nor ever will be, any tax dollars spent on campaign contributions or political agendas. Any dollars spent, or any contributions made, are after-tax dollars donated by those who care enough to improve our educational system and/or the betterment of the state.

Maybe we should be looking at the Commonwealth Foundation and research where their money is coming from and how the well never runs dry.

Last thought: I wonder where they found this "John" who has unkempt hair and an untrimmed beard? Does he really teach, or is he a student of his own subject? How much did they pay him to put a scare into you without merit?

Don't be dumped by misinformation. If you want to champion a cause, do it! It's your right to do so, but get the facts and make your case on correct intelligence work.


Bruce T. Koch