Labor Union

Florida Education Association (FEA)

This image is a logo of the organisation that is the subject of this article. (link)
Website:

feaweb.org

Location:

Tallahassee, FL

Tax ID:

59-3685521

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $33,070,912
Expenses: $29,635,680
Assets: $44,451,349

Website:

feaweb.org

Location:

Tallahassee, FL

Type:

Education Activism

Founded:

1886

President:

Andrew Spar

Teachers Unions

The Florida Education Association (FEA) is an umbrella organization for teachers’ unions in the state of Florida. The association has more than 100 member unions and claims to represent more than 150,000 teachers, college professors, and school administrators. The FEA is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the first- and second-largest teachers’ union umbrella groups in the United States. The FEA and its member unions are also part of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest umbrella group for labor unions of all types. [1]

The FEA advocates for better pay and benefits for its members, as well as increased funding for public education programs. It also claims to provide representation for its members within the organization through a governance board, which elects an executive cabinet, and an elected delegate assembly. The governance board includes the presidents of every local union, as well as a selection of other members, who are chosen on the basis of race and ethnicity. [2]

The FEA tends to support the left-of-center public policies. It pushed back against executive actions taken by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) requiring schools to resume in-classroom instruction in the months following the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. [3] The association has also opposed legislation that would regulate unions’ ability to collect dues from members and provide oversight for confirming teachers’ right to work without joining a union, and sued to have government-funded school choice vouchers declared unconstitutional. [4] [5] At the same time, the FEA supported the governor’s decision to replace the Florida Standards Assessments, a set of standardized tests which state education officials called “antiquated” and which union representatives claimed were impeding “genuine teaching and learning,” according to ABC News. [6]

In October 2021, the FEA called on its members and supporters to contact the Governor’s office to demand that school districts be allowed to shut down schools at will and that the districts not be subject to funding cuts even if they suspend in-person learning. [7]

 

Background

The FEA is based out of Tallahassee, Florida. The association was founded in 1886 by a group of teachers who claimed they were being underpaid and forced into poor working conditions. Teachers’ unions in the state began regularly striking starting in the 1960s, and staged the first mass walk-out in the nation in 1968. In 1974, the association’s member unions split between the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers due to a dispute over internal policy. The division ended in 2000 when the state teachers’ unions re-united into the present-day FEA. [8] The association also opposes government policies that would facilitate school choice, claiming that private and religious schools are “unaccountable” and that “we don’t know if their students are receiving a basic education.” According to the FEA, funding the public school system exclusively is less “inefficient” than providing financial support to parents who choose other education options for their children. [9]

Reports

The FEA publishes an annual “Safe Schools Report.” The report for the 2020 to 2021 academic year tracks cases of COVID-19 among Florida students, teachers, and school administrators. The association blames the state government for allegedly providing “confusing and often contradictory health and safety guidance.” In particular, the report attacks Governor Ron DeSantis (R), calling him a “bully” for threatening to cut funding to school districts, which would in turn force schools to shut down. The FEA claims that school districts must be allowed to close schools at will, and this is in line with “their duty to keep students safe.” The report includes all cases and deaths without specifying whether or not victims contracted the virus in a school environment. [10]

Political Activity

The FEA pressures state officials and elected representatives to oppose legislation that would reduce the influence of teachers’ unions, organized labor as a whole, and the public education system. In 2006, legal action by a former FEA president led to the state Supreme Court ruling that government-funded school choice vouchers were unconstitutional. In April 2021, the association launched a digital ad campaign to push back against Senate Bill 1014 and House Bill 835, which would bar unions from deducting membership dues directly from teachers’ paychecks. The legislation would also require teachers to confirm that they were not being coerced into joining a union on an annual basis. The unions’ advertising claimed that these requirements would “take away” teachers’ “freedom” and interfere with their ability to “advocate” for their students. [11] [12]

COVID-19 Pandemic

In July 2020, the FEA filed a lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and several other state officials in response to executive action by the DeSantis administration which mandated that schools open for in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year. Initially, a county judge sided with the association, which argued for the right of school districts to suspend in-classroom learning at their discretion, but state officials appealed the decision. [13]

In January 2021, the FEA dropped the lawsuit, and an updated version of the governor’s original executive order went into effect, requiring all public schools to provide in-person instruction but allowing them to offer remote classes in addition. [14]

Standardized Testing

In September 2021, the FEA announced its support for Governor DeSantis’ plan to retire the Florida Standards Assessments, an annual, multi-day series of standardized tests. The governor said that the replacement tests would be shorter and distributed throughout the school year. DeSantis also announced that the state would be phasing out the Obama-era Common Core education program in its entirety. Florida teachers’ unions supported the decision to drop the FSA, praising the state Department of Education and endorsing incremental “progress monitoring” as an alternative to annual standardized testing. [15]

Leadership

Andrew Spar is the president of the Florida Education Association. He was born in New York City and attended Ohio State University. Carole Gauronskas is the vice president of the association, and is also originally from New York. She is the first non-teacher to be elected as an FEA officer. [16]

Financials

The FEA generates more than $30 million per year from fees and other program service revenue. It also received more than $4.5 million in contributions and grants in 2019. More than $13 million of the association’s revenue went towards leadership and staff salaries. The FEA’s net assets in 2019 exceeded $15.4 million. [17]

References

  1. “About FEA.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/ ^
  2. “About FEA.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/ ^
  3. “Teachers’ Union Faces Appeal.” Florida Political Review. October 15, 2020. Accessed October 3, 2021.

    http://www.floridapoliticalreview.com/teachers-lawsuit-faces-appeal/ ^

  4. Renzo Downey. “Florida Education Association ad campaign targets teacher ‘paycheck protection’ bill.” Florida Politics. April 6, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://floridapolitics.com/archives/417373-florida-education-association-ad-campaign-targets-teacher-paycheck-protection-bill/ ^
  5. “History.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/history/ ^
  6. Dan Trujillo. “FSA testing will end in Florida after this school year, DeSantis says.” ABC Action News. September 15, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/fsa-testing-will-end-in-florida-after-this-school-year-desantis-says ^
  7. “FEA’s Safe Schools Report: 2020-21 school year.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/covid19/2021safe-schools-report/ ^
  8. “History.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/history/[note]

    Policy Positions

    The FEA supports universal taxpayer-funded health care coverage, sometimes referred to as “Medicare for All,” claiming that access to health services is a right and that the current health insurance system in the United States “treats healthcare as a privilege.” [note] “Healthcare.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/issues-action/healthcare/ ^

  9. “Private School Vouchers.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/issues-action/private-school-vouchers/ ^
  10. “FEA’s Safe Schools Report: 2020-21 school year.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/covid19/fea-safe-schools-report/ ^
  11. Renzo Downey. “Florida Education Association ad campaign targets teacher ‘paycheck protection’ bill.” Florida Politics. April 6, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://floridapolitics.com/archives/417373-florida-education-association-ad-campaign-targets-teacher-paycheck-protection-bill/ ^
  12. “History.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/history/ ^
  13. “Teachers’ Union Faces Appeal.” Florida Political Review. October 15, 2020. Accessed October 3, 2021. http://www.floridapoliticalreview.com/teachers-lawsuit-faces-appeal/ ^
  14. Danielle J. Brown. “After 6 months of sparring, state teacher union drops lawsuit over reopening FL schools during COVID.” Florida Phoenix. January 13, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://floridaphoenix.com/2021/01/13/after-6-months-of-sparring-state-teacher-union-drops-lawsuit-over-reopening-fl-schools-during-covid/ ^
  15. Dan Trujillo. “FSA testing will end in Florida after this school year, DeSantis says.” ABC Action News. September 15, 2021. Accessed October 3, 2021.

    https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/fsa-testing-will-end-in-florida-after-this-school-year-desantis-says ^

  16. “Officers.” Florida Education Association. Accessed October 3, 2021. https://feaweb.org/about-fea/officers/ ^
  17. Florida Education Association 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 990. Accessed October 3, 2021.

    https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/593685521/202101909349301120/full ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Fedrick Ingram
    Vice President
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1976

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Aug Form 990 $33,070,912 $29,635,680 $44,451,349 $36,393,833 N $3,755,729 $28,959,626 $302,631 $1,652,678 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $31,872,423 $29,504,150 $37,916,202 $39,183,873 N $4,198,234 $27,595,224 $80,504 $1,375,876 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $30,714,860 $30,432,569 $33,784,041 $40,398,608 N $3,537,173 $27,107,637 $20,574 $1,052,769
    2015 Aug Form 990 $30,257,899 $30,823,439 $29,383,124 $33,558,891 N $4,197,522 $26,046,143 $18,856 $1,086,953 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $29,808,926 $29,108,731 $28,241,643 $29,429,796 N $4,499,099 $25,293,869 $19,970 $1,229,041 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $29,299,968 $28,761,979 $26,671,219 $20,319,719 N $4,608,693 $24,662,064 $36,682 $924,521 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $30,038,693 $28,537,110 $25,702,170 $19,691,752 N $3,772,100 $26,238,285 $35,179 $914,641 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $31,775,179 $31,138,205 $24,677,614 $20,141,194 N $5,932,857 $25,821,041 $25,706 $1,257,716 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Florida Education Association (FEA)

    213 South Adams Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32301