Investigative reporter Chris Papst from Fox45 News’ Project Baltimore finds while Maryland’s education system is in a downward spiral, the state’s largest and most powerful education union continues to record new highs in revenues and assets.
Papst pointed out that the Maryland State Education Association’s website says the union is supposed to “make a positive difference in their professional lives in order to elevate the quality of public education for all students.” The tax-exempt non-profit organization derives most of its money by collecting tax dollars given to schools and paid to teachers, who, in turn, pay union dues.
Data obtained by Project Baltimore show MSEA’s financial statements going back a decade. In 2013, the union reported revenues of $19.8 million. By 2022, revenues jumped 34% to $26.5 million, the highest amount on record.
Papst said the divergence in the union’s revenues and test scores is a major concern.
$$$$$$: The wealth of Maryland’s largest teachers union surges to record levels – as student test scores plummet. Union assets have nearly tripled since 2013 to $45.3 million! The union’s tax-exempt mission: “to elevate public education for all students.”https://t.co/t1fuVuVjCy
— Chris Papst (@chrispapst) November 14, 2023
He cited federal test scores that state Maryland students in 2013 outperformed the national average in fourth-grade reading and math. In 2013, MSEA reported revenues of $19.8 million. By 2022, revenues jumped to $26.5 million.
Anirban Basu, an economist and former member of the Baltimore City School Board, told Papst, “Teachers make, certainly, more than they used to … But then the question becomes, okay that’s fine, what is the taxpayer getting for all of this money that’s flowing into the educational system, the teachers on to unions? And the answer is, not much.”
Basu said, “Unions do not exist to profit maximize,” adding, “And if the union in particular, the teachers unions, for instance, are elevating adults over children, then they’re not the force for good that they are supposed to be, given their federal mandate, their organizational mission.”
He continued, “It seems like this money is just piling up. It’s going to go someplace, I suppose, at some point. But at the end of the day, the test scores speak for themselves.”
“What we have seen in recent years is our kids are falling behind,” said Basu. He noted, “In many cases, they score below the national average. And so, what does that tell you? We’re taking a lot of potential educational achievement and not fulfilling or operationalizing that achievement. Something is wrong here.”
Project Baltimore found the bulk of the MSEA revenue collected last year paid for 93 union employees.
Money laundering 101
— Ramman06 (@baltoravorls) November 14, 2023
One X user commented on Papst’s and said this is a case of “Money laundering 101.”