Ben DeGrow Talks Union Opt-Out Periods on 850 KOA's Mike Rosen Show

The dog days of August are here. Most Colorado K-12 schools are gearing up for the 2010-11 year, while a few already are underway. August and September are a very busy time for those who work in our public schools. That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise that for many teachers it’s the only time of year they have to make choices about their professional memberships.

Yesterday my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow spent an hour on 850 KOA’s Mike Rosen Show to discuss the little-known phenomenon of school employee union opt-out windows. You can listen to his conversation with guest host Jon Caldara here.

Depending on which school district they work in, many Colorado teachers and classified employees have only a short few weeks or less each year to choose to stop their union membership and payroll dues deduction — even though they can opt in any time. (In a few school districts, teachers and other employees who don’t belong to the union have to fill out a letter or form each year to opt out of union dues.) And in most cases, those opt-out windows fall during the busy beginning of the school year.

One teacher called in to yesterday’s Mike Rosen Show to explain the hassle she had to go through to opt out. Another teacher called in to explain what we hear a lot — that despite reading the union newsletters she had never been made aware of the opt-out window. If you are a teacher or other school employee considering your membership options, or know someone who might be, please visit our Independent Teachers website — a one-stop information source on educator membership options.