Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NEA vs. America's Future

Ms. Zettler's posts on the Northwest Herald website
reminded me of the following article in the World Net Daily.

When U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association a terrorist organization last February, he wasn't as far off the mark as the terrorists said he was. The National Education Association annual convention just concluded, and it is clear the NEA is more harmful to America's future than ever before.

This year's NEA platform reads a bit like a manifesto of a Third World socialist party. It isn't simply the NEA's typical opposition to parental choice, local educational control, charter schools, performance-based teacher salaries, vouchers, religious faith in school, and – since many NEA members pay dues by force of threat, intimidation and coercion – ordered liberty in general.

The NEA opposes those things, but its new platform also reaches into further political extremes that bear no hint of reflection of America's fine teachers. Though the National Education Association – at the local, state and national levels – collects nearly 1 billion dollars in annual dues from members, those members often have no choice about paying dues, nor about the expending of their hard-earned dollars to promote the appalling platform of national union bosses.

Above all else, the NEA is a political organization. According to Forbes magazine, the NEA fields "the largest army of paid political organizers and lobbyists in the U.S., dwarfing the forces of the Republican and Democrat national committees combined." But in one sense, the NEA is the most powerful constituency of the Democratic Party – 95 percent of political expenditures go to the Democrats, and the union enthusiastically endorsed John Kerry at the NEA convention.

How else is the NEA bearing in vain the names of America's teachers? Here are some sample business items and resolutions from their convention:

Feasibility study of NEA coalition with NAACP and National Council of La Raza (The Race) to seek a gargantuan lawsuit "on behalf of the economically poor students of this country."
"Priority" lobbying for the socialistic "establishment of a national, universal health care system."
Support for a New York City communist teacher.
Endorsement of a range of family-planning options for students.
Endorsement of in-state university tuition rates for illegal aliens.
Opposition to Wal-Mart's corporate decisions relating to unions.
Opposition to the Bush tax cuts.
Endorsement of Cesar Chavez National Holiday (Apparently, Labor Day isn't left-wing enough).
At a special banquet, the NEA bestowed its award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights to Kevin Jennings, co-founder and director of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. Among other radical efforts, GLSEN sponsors an annual day-long interruption of classes in thousands of high schools to protest the "silencing" of homosexuals. The implication is that the NEA endorses GLSEN's efforts to infuse an anti-traditional family agenda into America's schools.

Even more stunning was the NEA reaction to a Department of Education report, released on the eve of the NEA convention, suggesting that 4.5 million students might be victims of sexual misconduct by teachers during their time in school. NEA spokesman Michael Pons dismissed the report, saying it did "more harm than good by creating unjustified alarm and undermining confidence in public schools." In a similar statement in Education Week in March, an NEA spokesman rejected evidence that some teachers were guilty of sexual misconduct like that of the Catholic Church.

Unlike many school districts that responded to the shocking Department of Education study by suggesting that more will be done to prevent abuse and harassment, the NEA is in denial that there are sexual misconduct problems in America's schools. Professor Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College observes, "The nation's largest teachers union is on the defensive."

There isn't space to delve into all the problems with the NEA beyond its recent convention. But the activities of the convention are enough evidence that teachers are without a real voice in the school system. The NEA effectively stifles the diverse wills of professional teachers who want individual career plans instead of obnoxious and expensive dues-funded political agitation by a mass-fueled, agenda-driven socialist union.

The NEA has become America's most noteworthy rip-off. Teachers pay into what they are told is a professional organization for their benefit. Instead, teachers are frequently stuck paying annual dues in the hundreds of dollars for the sake of an extremist political agenda in which they are absolutely voiceless.

For too long, the NEA has done everything it can to take the professionalism out of teaching. If Americans fight back now, at school-board meetings, in state legislatures, at the polls, in every circle of public opinion and public policy in which we can have our say, there just might be hope for the future of America's schools.

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