Alaska’s largest teachers union’s mission states, “Our union strives to… enhance learning opportunities for students.” The National Education Association-Alaska’s website encourages members to “be a voice for each and every student.” So why is NEA-Alaska pushing so hard to end the highly-rural state’s correspondence study program? 

Alaska Public Media reports that, “Since the 2014 law [creating the current program], roughly 10% of Alaska school enrollment has shifted from school buildings to correspondence programs, with the pace of the shift accelerating over the past four years.” The state’s largest teachers union didn’t like losing control over the state’s students, so it funded a lawsuit against the program.

Anchorage Superior Court judge Adolf Zeman ruled in April that the state-funded correspondence programs used by over 22,000 students are unconstitutional. Unless the Alaska legislature drafts a new correspondence study program law, students will lose access to the popular educational option.  

The union is celebrating shutting down opportunities for thousands of students. Union president Tom Klaameyer described the lawsuit’s outcome as “a big win.” When filing the complaint last year, the NEA-Alaska leader declared, “We want to make sure all of the public money that is rightfully allocated to the public school system stays within the public school system.” 

Funding for the correspondence study program was intended to fund students, not systems. Unions, in contrast, only prioritize the needs of unionized adult employees and the bureaucratic systems that employ them. To learn more about how teachers unions aggressively oppose educational opportunities for students, read “Teachers Union Eliminates Reading Tutoring,” “Education Freedom In Texas,” and “California Teachers Association Blocks Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction.

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center’s Teachers Union Resource Center