Colorado Education Association today took to Twitter to high-five each other after full-day kindergarten passed in the state legislature and was signed into law. Democratic Governor Jared Polis had identified this as a top priority for his administration (likely to shore up the CEA’s support for this gubernatorial bid in the general) and came through for the embattled union.
Proponents of full-day kindergarten will tell you that the reason they support it is because studies show early school intervention of kids helps them do better later. (Nevermind the slew of contradictory studies.) But the real reason that the Colorado Education Association is cheering full-day kindergarten isn’t because they’re so altruistic; after all, we know that the motivating factor for unions isn’t actually kids. It’s because now the union can unionize those kindergarten teachers, leading to additional revenue for unions, which previously were failing to attract new members and experiencing declines in revenue.
According to a The 74 report from October 2018, since the Janus ruling, which ended the practice of public-sector unions charging fees to nonmembers, the National Education Association, the parent of the Colorado Education Association, saw a decline in membership of 17,o00. Even worse (for the union) is the loss of more than 87,000 former agency fee payers nationwide.
In Colorado, according to a Fort Collins Coloradoan article, there are approximately 63,409 kindergartners of which 50,076 are full-day. That leaves 13,333 part-time kindergartners. If there are 20 kindergartners per class on average (with the understanding that many are lower and many are higher), that means there are approximately 606 teachers left to unionize. That sound paltry until you consider that on average each teacher will pay at least $600 into the union dues system per year. At a minimum, that’s a revenue increase from teachers in Colorado by approximately $363,000 per year. That’s not too shabby and that’s if teachers union dues are kept to about $600, which is $395 for the CEA and $189 for the NEA. If dues increase, all the better (for the union).
So, no need to cheer the mixed outcomes of full-day kindergarten, but definitely give the teachers union a high-five for boosting its revenue on the backs of teachers.