Leader of Top Teachers' Union Took in More Than $500K While Battling for COVID School Closures, Tax Forms Reveal
New documents reveal that the president of the nation’s largest teachers’ union — a leader who fought against reopening schools during the COVID pandemic — was raking in big bucks while showering liberal groups with cash.
National Education Association President Becky Pringle earned $534,243 in compensation between September 2020 – when she was named to her post — and August 2021, NEA tax forms show.
That was an increase of $25,000 from the previous calendar year.
“Becky Pringle lined her pockets with over half a million dollars and peddled politics at the expense of returning to in-person learning,” Caitland Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, said, according to Fox News Digital.
Sutherland provided the tax forms to Fox News Digital.
“Children are still feeling the catastrophic effects of prolonged school closures, all because teacher union leaders wrote the guidance that kept our schools closed,” she said. “This is politics at its worst.”
The tax documents further reveal that the NEA gave millions to liberal groups and funded unions, according to Fox.
The NEA shipped $200,000 to the Democracy Alliance, a left-wing group co-founded by George Soros that helps develop the Democratic Party’s positions.
The NEA sent $100,000 to the Strategic Victory Fund, which helped progressive campaigns, and $1.2 million into the State Engagement Fund, which sends cash to progressive non-profits.
The NEA’s progressive push also has sent money to the Center for American Progress, America Votes, Emerging American Majorities, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Voto Latino, and Race & Equity in Education.
The New Jersey Education Association received $6.1 million.
As noted by Fox News, the New Jersey affiliate has taken out ads condemning parents who become involved in school boards and education issues.
“When extremists start attacking our schools, that’s not who we are,” the ad says. “People who only want to fight to score political points should take that somewhere else.”
From the start, Pringle pushed back against efforts to reopen schools that were shuttered by COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Politico.
Some said unions have taken positions that oppose parents.
“I don’t think the unions are playing well when we’re seeing urban and suburban parents not particularly happy about what’s been happening in schools the last 18 months,” Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said, according to The New York Times.
But if parents had qualms, the Biden administration was happy to bring the union into a policy-making role as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed guidance to reopen schools in February 2021.
The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers were given a chance to give the CDC input on the guidance, with Pringle given a meeting with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
The NEA later used its clout to insist that May 2021 guidance from the CDC should require everyone to wear a mask in school regardless of vaccination status.
Erika Sanzi, director of outreach at Parents Defending Education, said the union has its priorities, and they aren’t related to education.
“The union is, and will always be, for adults. It will never be for children,” she said, according to the Times.
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