NEA opposes the first Alaska ‘teacher governor’



National Education Association-Alaska, the powerful teachers union, is spending $50,000 to oppose gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy, through a group it formed called Educators Against Dunleavy, which shares the same Main Street address as the NEA in Juneau.

With that $50,000, the group purchased $30,000 worth of digital advertising at, going negative against Dunleavy. The remainder of the $20,000 went to the ad agency, Rising Tide Communications.

Why would the National Education Association oppose the first Alaska governor who comes from the public school community, and whose entire career was as a public school teacher and administrator — and a rural educator, at that? And the only gubernatorial candidate hopeful who has lived in the Arctic?

Mike Dunleavy when he was a public school teacher in Kotzebue.


Educators who disagree with the NEA-Alaska’s position on this race are now free to withhold their dues, which are going to oppose a rural school teacher who spent six years teaching in Koyuk and several years in Kotzebue. After seeing how the math works on the $50,000 spend against one of their own, they may want to decide to send their contributions to candidates themselves — or not.

Subsequent to the Janus decision by the Supreme Court, public employees can easily opt out of their union dues, and no longer even have to pay the “agency fee.” To do so, send or deliver a letter to your school district payroll department saying you no longer wish to have union dues taken from your paycheck. The human resources department is required to honor your wishes without causing you any additional steps. Keep a copy of your letter.

If you get pushback from your district human resources department, the Alaska Policy Forum has legal resources to help you enforce your rights.


Story problem: For every dollar that NEA-Alaska spent opposing Mike Dunleavy through Educators Against Dunleavy, how much of it was used for ads vs. being siphoned by the ad agency?

(Extra points for those who figure out this is the same percentage that gets siphoned off in administrative costs in our public education system. Your answer must be turned in by Nov. 6.)



  1. Sometimes, but not often because Democrats now hate the poor white working class, we hear laments from the Democrats about the fall of unions and how they contributed to the higher standard of living that existed in this country in say the 1950s. They are correct in this assertion. Walmart could use a union against it. McDonalds could use a union against it. The idea of unions, however, were to counter the big, evil, rich, business owner through collective bargaining. There are unions today, but they don’t counter big, rich, evil business owners. They are all involved the government and counter the taxpayer. Since when was the taxpayer or the government an evil entity that need a union to counter it??? The teachers unions in this country are the prime example of this. Our education is in the garbage in this country, and teachers now routinely have sex with their students. If Democrats want to help out the poor, strengthen unions in private industry specifically for retail workers that actually work hard, and give Alaska teachers a big fat pay cut. We have the richest, squabbling teachers in this country that do not deserve the money they are paying especially compared to the hardworking men and women at Alaska McDonalds and Walmarts that could do a better job educating children than someone like this pedophile freak they recently caught in Palmer that is obviously a teacher union member.

  2. Private Sector unions know that the employer has to “make it” or there is no job.
    Public Sector unions do not have this “brake” on their demands for compensation and benefits. The School Districts, and Governments, federal, state and local, all use tax payer dollars to pay the employees of government. Not their money, although, in fact, some of that money comes back to them in the form of campaign contributions provided, of course, that those politicians make sure that tax payer dollars continue to flow to those employers.

    Thank the good Lord for the Janus decision, particularly if you think of the AFL-CIO in Alaska run by Mr Vince Beltrami, former candidate for the state senate who was soundly defeated by an Independent Expenditure group of private sector donors who did not want another fox in charge of the hen house.

    Look now at who the AFL-CIO is backing. Walker, of course, as he is one who believes in giving away tax payer money to the unions who in turn, take that money and give it back to him in the form of campaign contributions.

    There ought to be a law. Fortunately, there is a Supreme Court Decision which should bring this practice to a halt or, at a minimum, reduce the level of support.

  3. NEA does not always speak for a majority of teachers. A Board decides who to to support and who not to support. No election or poll of all the members is taken. Trust me; there are many members that will cast their vote for Dunleavy.

  4. Thanks for the article Suzanne! I’d love to see a follow up with some of the major union employers to see how many public sector employees are now opting out of paying union dues.

    The education system in Alaska has a lot of excess that needs to be cut. I just returned from the village of Kaktovik, where an impressive school, the largest structure in the village, houses 8 teachers plus 14 support staff (total of 22 staff) that teach 62 students.

    It’s great that the North Slope Borough can afford such a structure and staff, but they certainly don’t need state funds to do it. The borough should use its property taxes to fund such excess. Looking at the budget for 2019 (see link below) we see that The Alaska Department of Education budget includes $20 Million in appropriations to fund the North Slope Borough schools and operation, which is over 40% of their budget. School districts need to raise funds locally and should live within their means. There’s no reason the residents of Alaska should have to fund 40% – 50% of our wealthiest (per capita) borough’s school system.

    Here in Fairbanks we see huge administrations and numerous non-teacher positions remaining immune to any serious cuts, while much needed teachers and programs are eliminated. The whole system needs to be scrutinized and efficiencies must be required. Local control, enhanced home school support especially for rural villages, and reductions in administrative waste are required.

    The union sees this as a threat, but I’m pretty sure many individual teachers do not. Hopefully many will break with the union and pull their funding for these political initiatives.

    On the pop quiz – It’s 40% to the ad agency.

  5. For those who “fear” union backlash and intimidation: Go to your HR department and tell them you want to be an “agency fee” payer. That means you only have to pay those fees (supposedly) connected to collective bargaining. Then you will automatically be dropped from the union rules per the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision. Do it today.

  6. How did we get to have a super-rich 1%? Bashing and squashing workers rights to organize and bargain for their labor. Decades ago, the wealthy had slave labor to build their wealth. Slaves were freed, thank goodness. Now, there is a new form of oppression upon workers seeking just wages and healthy working conditions…..wake up to what is happening!!

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