On how the NEA spends its money and why some teachers don't like it

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The Salt Lake Tribune reports that some teachers in Utah have abandoned the state teacher union, an affiliate of the NEA, and formed a new organization, the Utah Council of Educators, an affiliate of the nation's largest nonunion organization, the Association of American Educators. "It's part of a larger national trend. Teachers don't want an organization to spend money on issues they don't agree with," explained Utah Council president Dave Barrett.

The impetus for the split appears to be over the issue of vouchers. The nonunion members, according to Barrett, do not necessarily support vouchers, but they were angered by the Utah Education Association's decision to spend vast sums of teachers' dues money to fight vouchers coming to the state.

In other news relating to how unions spends their dues, the Education Intelligence Agency released the list of organizations that received contributions from the NEA in 2006-07. Among the beneficiaries of NEA's largess last year were NCATE, the nation's leading accreditor of colleges of education, to the tune of $350,000, and the North Carolina-based teacher education think tank, Center for Teaching Quality, which received $275,000. Both organizations are among the top 15 percent of NEA donations. All in all, the NEA gave away $12 million to 116 organizations. The full list can be seen here .