California is a "closed shop" or "non-right to work" state whose laws force teachers like me to pay approximately $900 in annual dues to the CTA, even if I am not a member. Luckily, I get about $300 of that money back, as that is the approximate amount of my dues that the CTA uses, not for work related issues, but for political activism - the lion's share of that money going to Leftist/Statist/Democrat causes. If a member of the CTA wants that money back, he has to donate it a charity that is on a CTA-approved list. If the member simply wants the money back free and clear, he must quit the CTA, as I have done.
If you are a conservative teacher like me who is sick of having his money forcibly confiscated and used to support causes that disgust you, you can get that money back. And as for liability insurance and all those benefits that that CTA promises its members? You can use your $300 refund to buy better benefits from the Association of American Educators (AAE), who are linked in my blogroll at left. I have been a member for about five years now, and I couldn't be happier with them.
For further information, you can also check out the California Teachers Empowerment Network (CTEN), who also writes about such issues, and can also be found on my blogroll.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson