The NEA: Hypocrisy and Double Standards Abound
At the National Education Association union’s annual convention in Boston, Massachusetts, Resolutions, New Business Items, and other agenda points were passed that not only show the leftist, progressive nature of this social justice organization, but also serve up a huge helping of hypocrisy and evidence of double standards.
Hypocrisy is defined as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” Along with hypocrisy, the union’s actions showed a tendency toward double standards; “a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another.”
Free Press — but Not Here
For 19 consecutive years, education writer Mike Antonucci attended NEA conventions and reported to the public what went on inside the convention centers where delegates created and adopted proposals that affect schoolchildren in the nation’s public schools. It is unknown what changed for 2017, but Antonucci was denied a press pass to the convention, which they call a Representational Assembly or RA. This means he was not allowed to attend the 2017 NEA RA. Union leadership, delegates, and guests who are signed in by one of the above, or individuals granted a press pass are the only ones allowed access.
Antonucci applied for the same sort of press pass that he’d been given since 1998. He received the following response from the NEA:
“Thank you for your interest in covering the 154th Annual Meeting and 95th Representative Assembly of the National Education Association in Boston. Your application does not meet our credentialing guidelines, and we will not be able to authorize a media credential for you to attend the RA.”
After getting the news, Antonucci wrote, “NEA didn’t explain why this year was any different from the previous 19, and it doesn’t really matter. The union is a private organization, and it is well within its right to issue a press pass or deny one to whomever it chooses.”
Then came the hypocrisy. At the union convention, delegates passed a Resolution about the importance of news reporting and reporters’ access. New Resolution H addresses the “Role of the Press in a Democracy.” It states,
“The National Education Association believes that a strong and independent press is vital for a fully functioning democracy. Limits on access to information, threats to individual journalists or news outlets, and coercion by elected officials or businesses cannot be tolerated. The Association also believes that open information laws must be vigorously enforced and that First Amendment rights of the press must be zealously protected.”
As Antonucci states, the NEA is a private organization and it has a right to deny him access. In their own words, the union claims:
“The union represents over three million teachers and other employees who work in public education, at the nation’s government schools. What is it that they want hidden from ‘a strong and independent press’?”
Antonucci’s credibility is unquestioned. He stated that former NEA president Reg Weaver told him, “People used to complain to me all the time about the stuff you wrote. And I’d ask them, ‘What did he write that isn’t true?’ And when they couldn’t come up with something, I’d say, ‘Then what you bitchin’ about?’”
Apparently the union believes that accurate reporting and the spread of “open information” to all citizens, including the parents and grandparents of millions of schoolchildren taught by NEA members, doesn’t really need to be “zealously protected.”
Mental Health for Children
Several NEA policies deal with guaranteeing that students have access to mental health clinics on school grounds. But are these clinics really promoting what is best for children and teens? The NEA wishes to overrule what parents want and make themselves sole arbiter of what mental health looks like in schools. (There are also big questions about the wisdom and feasibility of having mental health treatment become a normal part of the school day.)
The NEA wants to make sure that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) students only receive direction toward remaining LGBT. Questioning students are to be directed only toward those alternative lifestyles, rather than toward a more traditional sexual choice, like heterosexuality, or those who are born males remaining males, or females remaining females.
The NEA has adopted dozens of Resolutions dealing with LGBTQ students and the manner in which teachers and school psychologists should encourage them. In Boston, the union approved Resolution C-15, which states that the NEA “believes that therapies designed to alter a student’s orientation or identity are harmful to the emotional development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students.” Even if a student wishes to receive such treatment from a mental health professional, the union would disallow it.
For years, the Ex-Gay Caucus has attended the RA, manning a booth in the Expo area along with other caucuses and vendors. It provides a safe space for LGBTQ teachers and school employees to discuss how they feel and the problems they face with those who have either left the LGBTQ lifestyle or are familiar with rejecting homosexual tendencies.
In Boston, the Ex-Gay Educators Caucus was almost removed from the NEA convention. A New Business Item (NBI) was introduced that would have banned this teacher-founded organization. NBI 86 stated:
“Be it moved that the NEA implement its own rules and regulations on ‘Becoming an Exhibitor’ to NEA caucus Ex-Gay Educators and immediately remove the exhibit entitled ‘NEA Ex-Gay Educators’ from the exhibit hall on the grounds that this exhibit violates existing NEA exhibitor standards. These standards state that exhibitors may not distribute materials that are offensive, distracting, or discriminatory.”
It must be noted that the “Drag Queen Caucus” has been an exhibitor at the NEA Expo and no one proposed booting them out. Some would say the very idea of promoting drag queens, men who dress and often perform in women’s clothing, at a teachers union convention is offensive and/or distracting.
In addition to the dozens of Resolutions that already deal with the rights of LGBTQ people, delegates passed the over 250-word long NBI 3, which states that the “NEA will continue to advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) students and educators,” listed ways they will do that, and indicated ways the NEA will protect and promote “sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”
The NEA passed New Resolution C that says, “The National Education Association believes that all transgender students should be able to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice.”
Those students whose mental health will be harmed by the presence of a naked person of the opposite sex in their locker room are out of luck if the nation adopts the NEA’s way of thinking.
No Creationism For You
Another NBI might result in the Creation Truth Outreach and Creation Science Educators exhibitors being banned from the Expo. For NBI 154, the rationale given is that “Creationism in public schools is illegal and unconstitutional. Evolution is the foundation of biology and such curricular attacks are truly offensive and in bad taste. Their message is unfit for an education exposition.”
One brave delegate spoke up to say that the exhibitors weren’t trying to get their books into schools, representatives were there for teachers and others to speak to only if they chose to do so, and that all materials were pre-approved before the NEA granted them permission to operate a booth at the Expo.
The NBIs about the “offensive” Expo exhibitors were combined, adopted as modified, and referred to the Annual Meeting Review Committee. The new wording says, “For the 2018 RA, NEA will thoroughly review and evaluate RA exhibitors’ materials for information that is offensive, obscene, or in bad taste. … Because of concerns brought by 2017 RA delegates, special scrutiny will be made to the following exhibitors: NEA Ex-Gay Educators, Creation Truth Outreach, and Creation Science Educators.”
The NEA promotes tolerance, except when they maintain a double stan- dard because the ideas and beliefs of others don’t fall in line with their own. Then they seem to behave like intolerant bullies.
Just like Mike Antonucci, it is suspected that some venerable convention attendees will not be allowed to attend the 2018 RA in Minneapolis.
AFT Union Leader Makes Racially Charged Accusations
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union president Randi Weingarten said in her July address to union delegates in Washington, D.C. that “school ‘choice’ was used to cloak overt racism by segregationist politicians….” She continued, “Make no mistake: The ‘real pioneers’ of private school choice were the white politicians who resisted school integration.” She said that school choice in the form of charter schools and vouchers for private schools are “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.” (AFT.org,7-20-17)
Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, responded, “Weingarten’s allies should disavow these comments, and America’s teachers should look into their hearts, consider whether this is the type of language and leadership they want as being representative of their views and voice, and consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation.” (EdReform.com, 7-25-17)
Weingarten seems to feel that parents should have no say in where their children attend school. They should be locked into failing inner-city schools, no matter how bad they are.
After Weingarten doubled-down on her attacks on parental choice, Allen stated, “Rather than apologize for her racist rant at this summer’s AFT convention, … she continues to promote her alternative version of history. It is clear that she is making a calculated effort to twist the debate over educational opportunities in ways that are not only dishonest and distasteful, but destructive.” Allen called Weingarten’s statements “a blatant attempt to rewrite history.” Allen says, “The modern education-reform movement was originally propelled by African-Americans and progressives.”
Allen concluded in the Wall Street Journal on August 17, 2017:
“Ms. Weingarten likes to style herself as a defender of the urban poor, but her recommendations for education tell another story. Her primary concern seems to be self-preservation. But the biggest threat to her power and position won’t be from the Trump administration or school-choice advocates. It will be from AFT members who recognize that she’s undermining the union’s credibility for her own gain.”
Teachers Unions Harm America
Many people agree that much of what teachers unions promote is harmful to freedom and to the future of America. Much of it has little to do with education and promotes a leftist, progressive, social justice, and globalist worldview. The NEA promotes the United Nations, the World Court, and the International Court of Justice.
Many troubling measures were passed at the 2017 NEA convention. One that indicates what the NEA is about is New Resolution I, Racial Justice. It states: “Racial justice in education and throughout the United States will be realized when we ensure systematic fair treatment resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for people of all races.” There is no way to guarantee equal outcomes. The only way to attempt this utopian undertaking is through centralized governmental control. Striving for big government utopianism is both dangerous and inimical to freedom.
Much can also be learned by who the NEA honors. At the Human and Civil Rights awards gala banquet, the union gave James Obergefell the Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership. He was the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the lawsuit that resulted in five members of the Supreme Court overturning all state laws and legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015. The NEA says same-sex marriages have increased by 33% since the ruling.
The 2017 Teacher of the Year spoke at the NEA convention and quoted unrepentant terrorist, Bill Ayers. This is unsurprising since Ayers’ books are taught at many schools of education.
Ironically, the anti-school choice NEA gave LeVar Burton its Friend of Education Award. In his acceptance speech, Burton said about his mother, “I’m the man I am because she is the woman she is: My first teacher and an avid reader.” She was a teacher and a single mother who chose private schools for her kids. Burton said, “She provided me with the best weapon she could. And that was a quality education.” Burton did not mention it at the NEA convention, but his mother sent him and his sisters to parochial school. Burton also attended Catholic seminary from age 13 until he abandoned his goal of becoming a priest. Burton is a movie and TV star, perhaps best known for his PBS series “Reading Rainbow.”
Parents should have dominion over where their children attend school and no teacher should be forced to join a union. When considering teachers unions, the big questions are: Are they good for students? Are they good for America?
Six schools in Baltimore, Maryland, whose unionized teachers belong to the American Federation of Teachers, do not have even a single student proficient in the state-tested subjects of math and English, according to a Project Baltimore investigation. Schools identified as failing to teach students include five high schools and one middle school in the Baltimore School District. One parent says, “That’s absurd to me. That’s your teacher’s report card, ultimately.” The district’s median teacher pay scale is $57,496. (FoxBaltimore.com, 5-22-17) (Salary.com, 8-3-17)
Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is facing severe financial challenges for several reasons, including “less American history being taught in schools,” according to the Foundation’s CEO Mitchell Reiss. In an effort to save the historic district where 18th-century life is depicted, the Foundation is laying off 71 employees and outsourcing food services, maintenance, and retail operations. Reiss says, “Ultimately, doing nothing would mean the end of this national treasure.” The mission of Colonial Williamsburg is “To feed the human spirit by sharing America’s enduring story.” (Bloomberg.com, 6-29-17)
In the past three years, the number of children aged 4 to 12 who attend the Rainbow Day Camp for transgender and gender fluid children has tripled and stands at sixty campers. The San Francisco Bay-area camp is considering opening branches across the nation. “Gender specialists say the camp’s growth reflects what they are seeing in gender clinics nationwide: increasing numbers of children coming out as transgender at young ages.” The mother of a 6-year-old camper who was born a male says, “Once she could talk, I don’t remember a time when she didn’t say, ‘I’m a girl.’” This mother says that the family found a transgender play group, sought specialists, and at 4 years old, they let the child “grow her hair, dress as a girl, and eventually change her name.” On-site therapists are available to children. (Fox News, 8-7-17)
Book of the Month
Charter Schools Work: America’s Failing Urban School Districts Can Be Transformed, Bush Helzberg, Independently Published, 2016, $4.99
Are charter schools magical solutions for the ills of traditional public schools? Of course not. Charter schools are public schools that tend to break molds and be more innovative than traditional public schools.
At the 2017 NEA convention, the teachers union adopted a 1,700-word anti-Charter School policy. The union wants charter school teachers to join them so they get dues money from those teachers, but also wishes charter schools would go away.
Parents should have options, such as tax breaks or voucher credits if they choose to send their children to a private school. Families should be able to homeschool. Another option is the charter school, a different sort of public school. Charter schools can’t cherry pick students to get the best and brightest, nor institute entrance requirements. They must abide by the rules and restrictions their states and localities put on them. But they often do a better job educating students than traditional public schools and they almost always do so for less money.
When a charter school doesn’t meet its mandate to educate students, it will lose its charter and be closed. This rarely happens to a traditional public school, no matter how poorly the school or its teachers perform.
Charter Schools Work offers a look at University Academy near Kansas City, a K-12 charter school that educates students well. It is written by a founding board member who was elected board chairman in 2007, succeeding his own father. The book can be purchased or a free PDF download found at CharterSchoolsWork.org.
From the beginning, University Academy has had a 100% college acceptance rate among its graduates. This is unusual in the low-income area where it operates. But as author Bush Helzberg points out, college completion rate matters even more. He says, “The 53% college completion rate for University Academy alumni is more than five times the national average for students from the lowest quartile income families (9%).”
Charter Schools Work explains both general and specific ways this school and other charter schools help students succeed. Helzberg writes, “We have always believed in pay for performance. We believe teachers can be effectively evaluated. … Under our current system, teachers who are high performers receive higher salary increases….” He says, “If they are not effective in the classroom, teachers should not be in front of students.”
Some NEA Resolutions Passed at the 2017 Convention in Boston, Massachusetts
A-2. Educational Opportunity for All. The National Education Association believes that all schools must be accredited under uniform standards established by the appropriate agencies in collaboration with the Association and its affiliates.
A-16. Federal Financial Support for Education. The Association opposes any federal legislation, laws, or regulations that provide funds, goods, or services to sectarian schools.
A-25. Voucher Plans and Tuition Tax Credits. The Association opposes voucher plans, tuition tax credits, or other such funding arrangements that pay for students to attend sectarian schools.
The Association believes that any private school or agency that receives public funding through voucher plans, tax credits, or other funding/financial arrangements must be subject to all accountability measures and regulations required of public schools.
A-34. Federally or State-Mandated Choice/Parental Option Plans. The Association believes that federally or state-mandated parental option or choice plans compromise free, equitable, universal, and quality public education for every student. The Association opposes such federally or state-mandated choice or parental option plans.
B-1. Early Childhood Education. The Association champions early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight. The Association believes that early childhood education programs should include a full continuum of services for parents/guardians and children, including child-care, child development, developmentally appropriate and diversity-based curricula, special education, and appropriate bias-free screening devices. The Association believes that federal legislation should be enacted to assist in organizing the implementation of fully funded early childhood education programs offered through the public schools. These programs must be available to all children on an equal basis and should include mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.
B-12. Diversity. The Association believes that a diverse society enriches all individuals. Similarities and differences among race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, geographic location, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical ability, size, occupation, and marital, parental, or economic status form the fabric of a society.
B-13. Racial Diversity Within Student Populations. Strategies should be encouraged to enhance equity in the education of our students. The Association believes that to achieve or maintain racial diversity, it may be necessary for elementary/secondary schools, colleges, and universities to take race into account in making decisions as to student admissions, assignments, and/or transfers.
B-14. Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Discrimination. Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion must be eliminated.
B-16. Hispanic Education. The Association believes in efforts that provide for grants and scholarships for higher education that will facilitate the recruitment, entry, and retention of Hispanics; involvement of Hispanics in lobbying efforts for federal programs; and protection of undergraduate and graduate ethnic studies programs at universities and community colleges, and course offerings at the high school level.
B-25. Education of Refugee and Undocumented Children and Children of Undocumented Immigrants. The National Education Association supports access to higher education for undocumented students and access to financial aid and in-state tuition to state colleges and universities in the states where they reside. The Association believes that students who have resided in the United States for at least five years at the time of high school graduation should not be held responsible for decisions they were not legally able to make but rather should be granted legal residency status, and allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship.
B-30. Educational Programs in Support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Students. The Association supports appropriate and inclusive educational programs that address the unique needs and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. The Association supports efforts and contributions by educators, parents/guardians, community leaders, organizations, and partners in the development of these programs. Specific programs should provide acknowledgement of the significant contributions of diverse LGBTQ persons in American history and culture and involvement of educators knowledgeable in LGBTQ issues in the development of educational materials that integrate factual information about the history of social movements and current events of LGBTQ people.
B-41. Multicultural Education. The Association believes that multicultural education should promote the recognition of individual and group differences and similarities in order to reduce racism, homophobia, ethnic, and all other forms of prejudice and discrimination, and to develop self-esteem.
B-50. Physical Education. The National Education Association believes that physical education programs and curricula should be culturally and gender sensitive; and should provide staff training on policies and procedures that address issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
B-51. Family Life Education. The Association recognizes the myriad family structures in society and the impact of these family structures and other close personal relationships on the quality of individual lives and upon society. The Association believes that education in these areas must be presented as part of an anti-biased, culturally sensitive program.
B-53. Sex Education. The Association believes that the developing child’s sexuality is continually and inevitably influenced by daily contacts, including experiences in the school environment. The Association also believes that to facilitate the realization of human potential, it is the right of every individual to live in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality and encourages affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs.
B-56. Environmental Education. The Association supports educational programs that promote—
• An awareness of the effects of past, present, and future population growth patterns on world civilization, human survival, and the environment
• Solutions to environmental problems such as nonrenewable resource depletion, pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation and deposition
• The understanding of the value of the world’s ecosystems and of sustainable practices
• Student preparation for careers in the green jobs sector.
B-60. Education on Peace and International Understanding. The Association believes that educational strategies for teaching peace and justice issues should include the role of individuals, social movements, international, and nongovernmental organizations in the peaceful resolution of conflict. Curricular materials should cover major contributing factors to conflict, such as economic disparity, demographic variables, unequal political power and resource distribution, and the indebtedness of the developing world.
B-66. Social Emotional Learning. The Association believes that students must learn the social emotional skills of self-awareness, self management, social awareness, decision-making, and relationship management.
B-68. Standardized Testing of Students. The Association believes that standardized tests should be used only to improve the quality of education and instruction for students. The Association opposes the use of standardized tests when —
• Used as the criterion for the reduction or withholding of any educational funding
• Results are used to compare students, teachers, programs, schools, communities, and states
• Student scores are used to determine compensation
B-82. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. Home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
C-6. Comprehensive School Health, Social, and Psychological Programs and Services. The Association believes that to promote health and wellbeing every student, pre-K through higher education, should have direct and confidential access to comprehensive health, social, and psychological programs and services. The Association also believes that, to provide effective physical and mental health services in the school setting, the following are essential—
• School psychological services promoting the mental health of students through prevention, identification, early intervention, and remediation of specific mental health issues that interfere with the learning process and providing crisis intervention of traumatic events and mental health counseling
• School social work services providing crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, behavior management, and coordination with student families and community resources
• Family-planning counseling and access to birth control methods with instruction in their use, if deemed appropriate by local choice
C-8. Complex Trauma. The Association believes that complex trauma impacts the brain development of children. Complex trauma causes systemic and individualized educational barriers that interfere with children’s emotional and physical health and impedes access to education. The Association understands that trauma crosses all segments of society and is often compounded by the effects of poverty, institutional racism, and other adverse childhood experiences.
C-14. Suicide Prevention Programs. The Association believes that evidenced-based suicide prevention programs must be developed and implemented. The Association urges its affiliates to ensure that these programs are an integral part of the school program.
C-15. Student Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The Association believes that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should be afforded equal opportunity and guaranteed a safe and inclusive environment within the public education system. For students who are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, every school district and educational institution should provide counseling services and programs—staffed by trained personnel—that deal with high suicide and dropout rates and the high incidence of teen prostitution. The Association believes that therapies designed to alter a student’s orientation or identity are harmful to the emotional develop- ment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students.
C-22. Extremist Groups. The Association condemns the philosophy and practices of extremist groups and urges active opposition to all such movements that are inimical to the ideals of the Association.
D-21. Education Employee Evaluation. Standardized tests, even if deemed valid and reliable, must not be used to support any employment action against a teacher and may not be used to determine any part of an educator’s evaluation.
D-22. Competency Testing of Licensed Teachers. The Association believes that competency testing must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers.
E-4. Selection and Challenges of Materials and Teaching Techniques. The Association deplores pre-publishing censorship, book-burning crusades, and attempts to ban books from school library media centers and school curricula. Materials in all subject areas should be free from stereotypes; address divergent points of view; and be inclusive of all ethnic groups.
F-1. Nondiscriminatory Personnel Policies/Affirmative Action. The Association believes that personnel policies and practices must guarantee that no person be employed, retained, paid, dismissed, suspended, demoted, transferred, retired, or harassed because of race, color, national origin, cultural diversity, accent, religious beliefs, residence, physical disability, political activities, professional association activity, age, size, marital status, family relationship, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Affirmative action plans and procedures that encourage active recruitment and employment of ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and persons in under-represented education categories should be developed and implemented.
F-2. Pay Equity/Comparable Worth. The “market value” means of establishing pay cannot be the final determinant of pay scales since it too frequently reflects the race and sex bias in our society.
F-43. HIV/AIDS Testing of Education Employees. The Association opposes mandatory/involuntary human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) testing of education employees or education employment applicants. The Association also affirms that the current ban on blood donations from individuals solely based on a history of same-gender sexual activity should be lifted.
F-49. Medication and Medical Services in Schools. The Association believes that education employees who are not licensed medical personnel should be protected from all liability if they are required to administer medication or perform medical services. New F. School Cancellation Policies and Compensation. The Association believes the compensation of educational employees should not be impacted by students’ non-attendance days and/or digital instructional days due to unforeseen circumstances which limit an employee’s days or hours.
H-2. The Education Employee as a Citizen. The National Education Association urges its members to become politically involved and to support the political action committees of the Association and its affiliates. The Association believes educators should have the opportunity to actively participate in the American political process. The Association supports districts allowing leaves of absence to both campaign full-time and serve in public office.
H-7. Economic Fairness in a Democracy. The Association believes that basic economic fairness is vital for a fully functioning democracy. The Association also believes that measures such as progressive taxation, estate taxes, a higher minimum wage, affordable higher education, and a strong social safety net are appropriate tools to reduce extreme income inequality and improve economic fairness.
H-8. National Health Care Policy. The Association believes that affordable, comprehensive health care, including prescription drug coverage, is the right of every resident. The Association supports the adoption of a single-payer health care plan.
I-2. International Court of Justice. The Association urges participation by the United States in deliberations before the International Court of Justice.
I-3. International Criminal Court. The Association believes that the International Criminal Court is critically important as an instrument to help end the impunity of human rights violators, provide for the rule of law, and hold accountable those who commit the gravest human rights crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
I-10. Global Climate Change. The National Education Association recognizes the scientific consensus that global climate change is largely caused by human activity, resulting in significant, measurable damage to the earth and its inhabitants. The Association believes that humans must take immediate steps to change activities that contribute to global climate change. The Association supports the continued development and implementation of environmentally sound practices that abate global climate change and its effects in partnership with the global community.
I-12. Human Rights. The Association believes that the governments of all nations must respect and protect the basic human and civil rights of every individual, including equal access to education as embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Association condemns any action that limits or prohibits the free and responsible exercise of these rights and believes that all education employees must lead in the effort to prevent any encroachment on basic human and civil rights.
The Association urges countries—including the United States—to provide a safe haven for greater numbers of refugees who have fled devastation in their native countries during times of increased conflict, and condemns the stereotyping of refugee groups.
The Association expresses concern that the practice of capital punishment in the United States impacts individuals disproportionately on the basis of social class, race, ethnicity, and gender. The Association supports ongoing efforts to review the practice of capital punishment for inequities based on these and other factors. The Association opposes harsh sentencing measures, such as mandatory minimums and other national, state, and local laws which have contributed to mass incarceration.
I-21. Freedom of Religion. The Association opposes any federal legislation or mandate that would require school districts to schedule a moment of silence.
I-22. Marriage Equality. The Association believes in marriage equality for all individuals. Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion must be eliminated.
I-24. Family Planning. The Association believes in family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association believes the government should give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association believes in the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel. In addition, the Association believes that continued funding of those facilities at both the federal and state level is necessary to provide access to care for people who cannot afford, or travel to, private facilities.
I-26. Immigration. The National Education Association supports efforts to improve the immigration process, including the provision of due process, equal protection, and access to status without regard to ethnicity, religion, or national origin. The Association opposes any immigration policy that denies human and/ or civil rights or educational opportunities to immigrants and their children regardless of their immigration status, hinders workers’ abilities to organize, or criminalizes individuals or groups who support or assist them.
I-31. Gun-Free Schools and the Regulation of Deadly Weapons. The Association believes that our communities, schools, and students are safer when common sense gun regulations are in place. The Association supports banning assault weapons, limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines, requiring background checks and a waiting period for all gun purchases, and creating a national database of gun sales.
I-46. Elimination of Discrimination. The Association is committed to the elimination of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, and all other forms of discrimination. The Association encourages its members and all other members of the educational community to engage in necessary conversations in order to examine assumptions, prejudices, discriminatory practices, and their effects. The Association believes that sanctions are both justified and necessary against governments, organizations, businesses, and/or groups that utilize or support discriminatory practices.
New I. Racial Justice. The National Education Association believes in the necessity of racial healing to strengthen our society as a whole. Racial justice in education and throughout the United States will be realized when we ensure systematic fair treatment resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for people of all races. The Association acknowledges that both historical and current practices have systematically advantaged and privileged people of white European ancestry while disadvantaging and denying rights, opportunities, and equality for people of color. Implemented through both policies and laws, these biased practices have been manifested in the conditions our students and educators face in their schools and communities.
The Association believes that honest and open conversations about the sources of institutional racism that continue to threaten equity, fairness, and justice in our nation are necessary to produce the critical changes needed to achieve racial healing and justice.
The Association encourages its affiliates to educate members about the ways race privileges certain people. The Association also encourages its affiliates to work with family and student partners to develop, initiate, and promote programs that will lead us to repair, heal, organize, and advocate to achieve racial justice so that every student and educator may fulfill their full potential.
I-52. Right of Redress for Descendants of Slaves. The Association believes that the descendants of those subjected to slavery in the U.S. have the right to redress for the injustices inflicted upon their ancestors.
I-57. Linguistic Diversity. The Association believes that efforts to legislate English as the official language disregard cultural pluralism; deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment; and must be challenged.
I-60. Equal Opportunity for Women. The Association supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution (such as the Equal Rights Amendment). The Association urges its affiliates to support ratification of such an amendment. The Association also supports the enactment andfull funding of the Women’s Educational Equity Act. The Association believes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission must have cease-and-desist authority to act in all cases of discrimination based on race, creed, color, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender.
The above text is excerpted from NEA Resolutions adopted at the 2017 National Education Association Convention. Much language has been omitted, but no words have been added or changed.