Over 30 conservative organizations endorse Rep. Scott Fitzgerald’s STUDENT Act

Over 30 conservative organizations endorse Rep. Scott Fitzgerald’s STUDENT Act
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Over 30 conservative organizations endorse Rep. Scott Fitzgerald’s STUDENT Act

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — In the three months since U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05) introduced the Stopping Teachers Unions from Damaging Education Needs Today (STUDENT) Act, a growing coalition of 31 conservative policy organizations from around the country have endorsed the groundbreaking proposal to overhaul the National Education Association’s (NEA) federal charter.

“The growing outpouring of support for the STUDENT Act is a testament to the importance of reining in corrupt, out-of-control teachers unions like the NEA,” said Maxford Nelsen, the Freedom Foundation’s director of research and government affairs.

In addition to being the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA has the distinction of being the only labor union to hold a federal charter. Issued by Congress in 1906, the charter designates the NEA as one of 95 “patriotic and national organizations” recognized by the U.S. government.

However, as the union’s focus has shifted from educational quality to partisan politics, it has become increasingly out-of-step with many Americans’ views and values.

To address this unwelcome evolution, the STUDENT Act would overhaul the NEA charter from top to bottom. Among other things, the legislation would:

  • prohibit the NEA from engaging in electoral politics and lobbying, a restriction already included in 60 percent of federal charters;
  • require the NEA to submit an annual report to Congress;
  • fully repeal the NEA’s D.C. property tax exemption;
  • prohibit the NEA from collecting dues from a public employee unless the employee has been notified of his or her right to refuse — and affirmatively consented — and require the NEA to collect dues without the use of government payroll systems;
  • prohibit taxpayer-funded release time for NEA officers;
  • bar the NEA from incorporating the core tenets of Critical Race Theory into its governance, operations and advocacy;
  • subject the NEA and its affiliates to the financial transparency requirements and union democracy protections of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act; and,
  • require the NEA to refrain from initiating, and to actively intervene to prevent, any strikes or work stoppages by its affiliates.

The diverse list of organizations backing the STUDENT Act includes national organizations, state-based groups, public interest litigation nonprofits, grassroots organizations, groups focused on economic policy, parent’s rights advocates and others.

The complete list of organizations endorsing the STUDENT Act includes:

  1. Alabama Policy Institute
  2. Alaska Policy Forum
  3. Americans for Fair Treatment
  4. Beacon Impact
  5. California Policy Center
  6. Center of the American Experiment
  7. Commonwealth Foundation
  8. Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
  9. Defense of Freedom Institute
  10. Freedom Foundation
  11. FreedomWorks
  12. Goldwater Institute
  13. Heartland Impact
  14. Heartland Institute
  15. Heritage Action
  16. Idaho Freedom Foundation
  17. Independent Women’s Voice
  18. Institute for Reforming Government Action
  19. Institute for the American Worker
  20. John Locke Foundation
  21. Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  22. Maine Policy Institute
  23. Nevada Policy
  24. Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs
  25. Palmetto Promise Institute
  26. Parents Defending Education Action
  27. Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity
  28. Rio Grande Foundation
  29. Upper Midwest Law Center
  30. Washington Policy Center
  31. Young America’s Foundation

At least one other organization, the Mountain States Policy Center, has written favorably about the proposal.

Fitzgerald’s legislation, H.R.4705, currently has 18 congressional co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal charters.

“As the House emerges from the difficult process of selecting a new speaker, one thing that should unite conservatives is the importance of addressing the NEA’s toxic influence on our schools, students, political system, and even the educators it claims to represent,” said Nelsen.

“From coast-to-coast, conservative organizations are calling on Congress, beginning with the House Judiciary Committee, to take decisive action and give Rep. Fitzgerald’s STUDENT Act the serious consideration it deserves.”

For more information on the STUDENT Act, see the Freedom Foundation’s report, “Rethinking the National Education Association’s Federal Charter” and our joint op-ed with Rep. Fitzgerald in the Wall Street Journal.


Maxford Nelsen
Director of Research and Government Affairs