Over at ThirdBasePolitics, I saw a post boasting about a “teachers’ organization” that is publicly in support of SB 5.  The organization is called “Association of American Educators,” who had an issued statement in favor of SB 5 that was included in a report by WEWS Channel 5 in Cleveland last week.

Since I thought I was aware of most major players in education, I was surprised to hear of this teachers’ organization that supported SB 5.  When I went to their website, I realized why I hadn’t heard about them: they’re located in California.  And while they have State chapters in nine States, Ohio isn’t one of them.

What’s also surprising is that their statement in support of SB 5 omits any indication of how many, if any, members they have are from Ohio, which is remarkable since they’re being quoted in a news story as attitudes about the referendum on SB 5 in Ohio.  I contacted the AAE to ask how many of their “300,000” teachers nationwide are from Ohio.  If they return my call, I’ll update my story with the number.  What is telling is that so far the AAE has never featured an Ohio member in its statement’s about SB 5.

What’s even more remarkable is that you can join AAE and have no background in teaching at all.  Yes, this is a non-union organization that claims to represent teachers that doesn’t restrict its membership to teachers or former teachers.  And this doesn’t just apply to membership.  The organization was founded in 1994 and is still lead by Gary Beckner, who has no experience as an educator, nor does its Associate Director or its Director of National Projects (who came over from the Heritage Foundation).

And AAE is not “just interested in the kids” as TBP pretends.  It’s main drive is to oppose unions in education.  Again just look at this Dispatch column by Mr. Beckner.  The AAE is an astroturfing organization that is designed to promote charter schools and “right-to-work” laws in education.  That’s why it’s no surprise to see the organization regularly team up with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to oppose public school unions. 

And it makes sense given that both the AAE’s Foundation gets donations  from conservative donors like:

Many of whom also donate to anti-union, so-called “Right to Work” organizations like the NRWLDF, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity.

But that’s not all the AAE’s undisclosed conflicts, as this AAE hit piece on the NEA demonstrates, they’re interesting in replacing the NEA as the premiere “teachers” organization on public education policy matters.  The AAE doesn’t just want the NEA to lose the ability to collect dues; the AAE wants to pick them up from the NEA.   So no, AAE isn’t in it “just for the kids.”  Hardly.  They support SB 5 because they view the NEA and other teacher unions as competitors to their efforts to collect dues and sell insurance policies to their members.

So what we’ve got is a conservative, anti-union astroturfing organization that is supporting the legislative agenda of Americans for Prosperity, which shares some of the same major institutional donors.  Americans for Prosperity who is also training the Tea Party organizations to serve as “grass roots” organizations that support SB 5 as well.  It’s the conservative circle of astroturfing.

Don’t forget Third Base Politics is no stranger to astroturfing.  All last year it served as an astroturfing outfit for the Kasich campaign while its main writer, an out-0f-state resident, was getting paid over $11k by the Ohio GOP to attack Strickland on the Internet.  Now, it’s throwing up California-made astroturf and declaring it grassroots support for SB 5.  Maybe after awhile that plastic grass really does start to look real.  It sure seemed to fool the media.

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  • buckeyekelly

    I honestly thought Bytor was elevating 3BP a bit. S/he was actually willing to admit when a post or information was wrong and correct it, which I find a step up (I always say measure a man not by his mistake but by how quickly and easily they can admit and adjust their mistake).

    But then again, when all you peddle is crap, you’re going to smell the same.

  • Nice take down.

  • clambake

    They had a letter to the editor printed in today’s Dispatch. The writer, representing this organization was from Mission Viejo CA.
    I really could not figure out the point of his letter to tell the truth. Something about a “cash pipeline” operated by the NEA.

  • clambake

    They had a letter to the editor printed in today’s Dispatch. The writer, representing this organization was from Mission Viejo CA.
    I really could not figure out the point of his letter to tell the truth. Something about a “cash pipeline” operated by the NEA.

  • BuckeyeDi

    Sara Dove teaches in Franklin county OH

  • Guest

    What about all the protests at the statehouse with people there who came in buses from out of state, places like Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and especially Kentucky?

  • What you pay is not union dues, but a fair share fee. It is in exchange for the work that the union by federal law is also required to do for you. You benefit from the collective bargaining that the union does for you. Have you asked to be excluded from the pay raises and the working conditions that the union bargaining defines?

    Also, if your opposition to joining the union is on religious grounds, your fair share can be paid to a charity instead of to the union.

    You are not a member of the union if you are a fair share payer.

  • What you pay is not union dues, but a fair share fee. It is in exchange for the work that the union by federal law is also required to do for you. You benefit from the collective bargaining that the union does for you. Have you asked to be excluded from the pay raises and the working conditions that the union bargaining defines?

    Also, if your opposition to joining the union is on religious grounds, your fair share can be paid to a charity instead of to the union.

    You are not a member of the union if you are a fair share payer.

  • Fedynad

    Do you regret taking the raises and benefits the union bargains for you?? DDo you refuse to take those union benefits? Probably not- pay your fair share to receive those benefits. You have no idea how bad it would be without union protections.

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