Politico’s Ben Smith breaks the news that the American Federation of Teachers spent a million dollars to defeat DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and most likely send their longtime nemesis Michelle Rhee packing. I just assumed their intense involvement in the race was common knowledge, ads even carried their tag line.
To give some sense of this, with approximately 4200 Washington Teachers Union members that’s about $238 per member. Sounds expensive. In fact, it was a bargain for the AFT. That amount per-member would be completely unaffordable in most large cities. So forget the public rhetoric, at a price they could afford the AFT was just able to send a powerful message to politicians everywhere about their willingness to go after dissenters. In a lot of places they won’t even have to spend nearly that much next time. That $1 million will probably continue to pay dividends for some time.