California Teacher Freedom – CFT

    Teachers can receive a rebate for CFT’s political spending

    By becoming an agency fee payer and making yearly requests, a public school teacher can receive a yearly “rebate” from the California Federation of Teachers for its political spending.

    A teacher’s ability to exercise these options is limited, however, and the necessary paperwork must be sent to your CFT local within 30 days of receiving your agency-fee-payer audit. (Teachers represented by the California Teachers Association have different rules. Click here for CTA details. Teachers in LA Unified have different requirements. Click here for LA Unified details.)

    First, if you are currently a CFT member, you need to request to become an agency fee payer instead.

    Next — and you must request this every year — you can get a “rebate” of your money that CFT otherwise spend on politics.

    Every year CFT completes an agency fee audit, usually in August, and sends that audit to its locals to distribute to agency fee payers. Local chapters then send the audit out to agency fee payers, and agency fee payers have 30 days upon receipt to request their rebate for the local. The due date for the “rebate” letters varies by local, and we recommend calling your local for further details.

    To ensure receipt of your letter, we recommend sending it Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested Signature and making and keeping a copy of your letter for your records.

    Religious Objector option

    If a teacher wants to become a religious or conscientious objector, a how-to guide is available from National Right to Work. Teachers wishing to become religious objectors should not request to become agency fee payers.

    Free legal assistance to those wanting to become religious objectors is available from the National Right to Work Foundation (email Bruce Cameron at, or from the website, which has helped numerous teachers through the religious objector process.

    Alternative sources of liability insurance

    Alternative sources of liability insurance:  Teachers seeking to replace CFT’s liability insurance have options from national, non-partisan, professional-educator associations. The Association of American Educators (AAE) and Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) are two such groups. For only $15 a monthAAE provides each member a $2 million liability insurance policy, legal protection and supplementary insurance options (AAE membership application). For less than $20 a month, CEAI also provides members with a $2 million liability insurance policy, legal protection and supplementary insurance options (CEAI membership application).

    Teachers seeking additional information on their rights are encouraged to contact the California Teachers Empowerment Network at 888-290-8471 or

    *   *   * is project of the California Policy Center, California Teachers Empowerment Network, American Association of Educators, and Nevada Policy Research Institute to educate public-sector professionals about their options as employees of unionized workplaces. We welcome new organizational and individual partners and collaborators, with the goal of informing every teacher of their options regarding union membership. 

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