David Schmus: “Our teachers…are now free”



Submitted by Christian Educators Association International (CEAI)

(Editor’s Note:  Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) is a 65-year old association serving 8,000 Christian public school educators in 50 states by  protecting Christian educators in their profession:  members can purchase a two million dollar professional liability policy; and by equipping Christian educators “to transform their schools.”)  

WASHINGTON–The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that unionized public sector workers do not have to join, or pay agency fees, to unions. This ruling has significant implications for many public school teachers from faith backgrounds who have long struggled with the legal requirement to support unions that often contribute money to causes to which they object.

The ruling in (Mark) Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) was foreshadowed by the 2016 case of  (Rebecca) Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), in which a group of 10 California educators and Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) argued that forcing teachers to pay fees to their unions violated their First Amendment free speech rights. Observers believed these teachers were poised to prevail, but Justice Scalia died before the ruling was issued, leaving the court in a 4-4 deadlock. Today’s ruling in Janus breaks that deadlock, and extends freedom from forced unionism beyond just the “right to work” states to all U.S. public sector workers, including public school educators.

“Justice delayed was not justice denied for our teachers, who are now free to direct their hard-earned pay according to the dictates of conscience,” said David Schmus, Executive Director of Christian Educators Association and former California public school teacher. “For years many teachers, including me, have been legally required to financially support unions as a condition of their employment, knowing that their money was going to Planned Parenthood or similar causes—no more.” 

California public school educator Karen Cuen, a plaintiff on the Friedrichs case, adds, “This is a great day for public workers! We finally have our voices back. My union does not represent my values, neither personal nor professional. After this ruling, I plan to stop paying money to my union immediately.”

Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) was a plaintiff in the Friedrichs case (and eight of the 10 teacher plaintiffs were CEAI members, including Rebecca Friedrichs), and has been serving Christian educators in K-12 schools since 1953. CEAI provides an alternative to teachers’ unions and supports Christian educators with training, legal counsel, and professional liability insurance.

(Editor’s Note:  To join Christian Educators Association International please call:  1-888-798-1124 or for more information, contact David Schmus at (440) 250-9566 or [email protected].)

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