The latter got more than $6.5 million and exists under the umbrella of the Democracy Alliance, which was described by Politico in 2014 as, "The Left's Secret Club."
In 2020, while parents were plagued by school closures and Congress designed its Coronavirus Relief Package, the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers improved their contributions to Democrats and liberal groups totaling over $65 million.
The partisan influence is not limited to matters that affect the classroom. In October, AFT President, Randi Weingarten issued a statement on President Biden's infrastructure and spending bills, "Congress must move forward and pass the Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and lead our country forward in this critical moment."
Amidst a rapidly mobilizing movement of angry parents in Virginia, Weingarten unsuccessfully campaigned for former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Both unions disclosed a combined contribution of $600,000 toward McAuliffe's campaign.
According to OpenSecrets.org, donations from the two unions have long been rising and increased from $4.3 million in 2004 to over $32 million in 2016.
Why is the union so focused on regaining control of this particular school board? For local parents, it's no mystery. The answer is the ripple effect of pandemic politics.
Frustrated by coronavirus lockdowns, a group of parents in North County San Diego, founded an association and sued the state to overturn pandemic rules limiting the number of days of in-person learning or completely blocking some schools from reopening at all.
In mid-March, San Diego Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland ruled in the association's favor, banning the state from enforcing its limitations, which she acknowledged were "arbitrary," interfered with school districts' reopening plans for in-person instruction and denied children's "fundamental right to basic education equality."
Moreover, in the absence of a contrary ruling by a higher court, the judge's decision applied to the entire state, sending a clear message to the CTA (the biggest statewide union) and Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration that their guidelines weren't mandates and they must allow school districts to reopen more rapidly.
The San Dieguito Union High School District, a high-performing area with 13,000 students and 600 teachers, had scheduled school re-openings for January 2021 but reversed course when the union sued in December to block that action.