This letter to the editor originally appeared in PennLive on September 18, 2015.
As a fellow teacher in the Central Dauphin School District, I wanted to stand up and cheer at Julie Raab's recent op-ed on her experience with the teachers' union.
I chose to opt out of membership in the Pennsylvania State Education Association based on my religious beliefs — exercising my right as a teacher not to join a union that would use my dues to fund political activities I oppose. Because of PSEA's contract with my school district, though, I still have to pay a “fair share” fee of more than $400 per year.
Although I'm grateful the law lets me direct the equivalent of my fee to my school's scholarship fund rather than to the PSEA's political agenda, I'd rather not be forced into a union-governed system that demands I pay hundreds of dollars as a requisite to keeping my job, period. Still, as a fee payer, at least I can protect my First Amendment rights to free speech and free association by not joining and supporting the PSEA's political activity.
To my fellow teachers: You can do the same. I encourage all teachers to learn more about your options – you have more of a say than you may realize.
JODIE KRATZ, Elizabethtown