The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, spent more than $12 million in the 2016 election targeting ballot initiatives.
The majority of that funding went to undermine efforts to expand charter schools and hold failing schools accountable.
According to a financial filing with the Labor Department made this week, NEA donated $4.9 million to the Massachusetts-based Save Our Public Schools, $4.2 million to the Committee to Keep Georgia Schools, and $1.3 million to Citizens who Support Maine Public Schools.
Save Our Public Schools was a coalition group dedicated to opposing Proposition 2 on the Massachusetts state ballot last election, which would have authorized 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools in the state. The ballot initiative was defeated by 62-38 percent margin.
The Committee to Keep Georgia Schools was a coalition group created to undermine a state constitutional amendment that would have given the governor the power to take over chronically failing schools. The ballot initiative, titled Amendment 1, was defeated 60-40 percent.
Citizens who Support Maine Public Schools was a coalition group that proposed a wealth tax of 3 percent on families with incomes exceeding $200,000 to provide additional school funding. That ballot question was approved on a narrow 50-49 percent vote, but was repealed by the state legislature earlier this year.
The union also donated $2 million to Yes on 97, an Oregon-based effort to add a sales tax on businesses selling more than $25 million in products annually. The measure was defeated 58-42 percent.
NEA gave $350,000 to Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families, a coalition that supported Proposition 206, which would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, up from $8.05 currently. It passed 58-42 percent.