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Week in Review: Teachers Union vs. Stay-at-Home Mom

August 7, 2021

The National Education Association (NEA)—the nation’s largest public sector teachers’ union with a budget of over $300 million—has sued a Rhode Island mom for asking what her daughter would be taught in kindergarten, and whether lessons would include politically charged materials like those influenced by Critical Race Theory and gender theory, held out to be true. With the help of the Goldwater Institute, Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas is fighting back.

“This brazen and unprecedented act of intimidation by the NEA will not stand,” said Jon Riches, Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, who is representing Solas. “Nicole Solas is entitled to know what her daughter’s school is teaching in the classroom. She’s entitled to ask questions. And she does not deserve to face legal action just for asking questions any concerned parent would ask.”

In April, Nicole emailed the principal of her school in the South Kingstown School District asking for the kindergarten curriculum. She immediately faced stonewalling from the school, and even a threat of legal action for asking too many questions. Ultimately, Nicole received a bill for $74,000 to fulfill a public records request filed by the Goldwater Institute on her behalf in July. Despite all this—and the NEA’s latest attack—Nicole is determined to put her daughter’s education first and refuses to be deterred by the union’s politically motivated attack.

“This lawsuit won’t deter me from asking questions, and I encourage all parents to do the same, so that they are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education,” Nicole said.

Parents like Nicole shouldn’t have to fight to learn what their children will be taught in school. The Goldwater Institute is working to shine a light on public schools’ curriculum—to learn more about our Academic Transparency Act, visit

Good News for Gender Equality

One California law unconstitutionally forces people to make decisions on the basis of sex, patronizes women by disregarding their individual preferences, and makes it harder for everyone to succeed in the workplace. But there’s good news: The law may be on its way out.

This summer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the green light to Meland v. Padilla, a lawsuit challenging California’s Senate Bill 826, the nation’s first state law to force corporate shareholders to take a candidate’s sex into account when they vote for board members. Enacted in 2018, SB 826 requires all publicly traded companies incorporated or even just headquartered in California to have at least one female board member, a quota that increases depending on the board’s size. Corporations that violate the quota face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and will be publicly chastened on the Secretary of State’s list of non-compliant corporations.

But SB 826 imposes a solution in search of a problem. There are reasons women may not have parity on corporate boards that have nothing to do with institutional discrimination but rather are based on individual preferences. Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur explains those reasons and how what may be a well-intentioned law actually does more harm than good. You can read more in the Orange County Register. The Goldwater Institute also filed a brief in this case, which you can read here.

In Case You Missed It: How Do We Keep Public Unions Accountable?

Public sector labor unions—from teachers unions to firefighter unions to police unions—wield massive amounts of power, shaping collective bargaining agreements that shield government actors from accountability.

Government must be accountable to the public, not to narrow special interests. But how do we achieve that?

Last week, Philip K. Howard, lawyer, bestselling author, and chair of the bipartisan Campaign for Common Good, joined Jon Riches, Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, for a special Goldwater webinar about how to restore accountability—and the freedoms that depend on it—in union contracts that should serve the public, above all.

You can watch the full webinar here.



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