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Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Reap Little in Elections

Over the last eight years, Republican-dominated statehouses and a White House bent on accountability dealt teachers’ unions a wave of setbacks on their key issues, whittling away at bargaining rights, instituting merit pay, expanding charter school and choice programs, and making budget cuts leading to teacher layoffs.

So this campaign season, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association bolted out the gate early with presidential endorsements, a flood of campaign spending on high-priority races and ballot measures, and plenty of organizational muscle to push their agendas.

But with a few notable exceptions, they came up dry.