by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Three of the groups challenging the reform agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and his education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos received more than $2.6 million from teachers unions and their allies, according to federal labor filings.
DeVos, a pioneer in the school choice and charter school movements over the last two decades, has received vocal opposition from Democrats and some of the country’s most powerful unions. The National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and AFL-CIO, which serves as an umbrella group for dozens of unions including the AFT, have all called on the Senate to reject the nomination.
They have also pumped millions of dollars into think tanks and activist groups that have supplied Democrats with intellectual ammunition to oppose her.
DeVos, the head of the American Federation for Children, has come under scrutiny from a number of liberal groups and media outlets, along with unions. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Center for American Progress (CAP) have each released reports critical of charter schools since President-elect Donald Trump announced the nomination in November. …
… EPI has received nearly $1.7 million from the NEA, AFT, and AFL-CIO since 2014, according to federal labor filings. The think tank, which describes itself as non-partisan, received more than $680,000 in 2015 alone from the three unions, and AFL-CIO footed the bill for catering costs at a January reception for the group that year. Those expenses were classified as “membership dues” and “support for economic policy research” on the Labor Department forms.