The NEA Union Stays the Leftwing Course
The good news is, we were saved from the threat of a mega-union running the public schools when delegates to the National Education Association (NEA) convention this summer repudiated their own leadership by voting down a merger with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The bad news is that the NEA convention delegates then approved all the resolutions that empower the NEA’s highly-paid staff to lobby for radical causes at Congress and the state legislatures.
The NEA supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for “children from birth through age eight.” NEA members must be living on another planet if they think the American people are willing to put their babies in public schools starting at birth.
The NEA wants schools to take on the responsibility for providing daycare for preschoolers, which is primarily a jobs program for the union. The NEA supports ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which would put supervision over the raising of children in the hands of a committee of UN “experts.”
A dozen or more of the NEA resolutions demand “diversity,” the code word for the gay rights agenda. NEA resolutions demand diversity in sex education, classroom curricula, school activities, and teacher training and hiring.
The NEA wants homeschooling to be tolerated only if the parents are “licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency” and use “a curriculum approved by the state department of education.” The NEA would even forbid homeschooled students to participate in any extracurricular activities in public schools.
Numerous NEA resolutions oppose parental option plans, tuition tax credits, and vouchers. The NEA is paranoid about any competition for public schools.
Speaking of paranoia, NEA publications warn darkly that there are at least 2,000 organizations “at the state, local and national levels that attack public school textbooks, courses, and teaching methods.” The NEA conducts an extensive program of “monitoring and researching” so-called right-wing organizations because the NEA regards academic freedom as a right of teachers, not parents.
NEA materials provide their members with full instructions and guidance on counterattacking against parents who dare to criticize public schools, their curriculum, methodology, or failure. NEA members are warned to be on guard against parents who question public school use of values clarification, life/death decision exercises, Whole Language, stories that include negative attitudes toward parents or patriotism, witchcraft, the occult, or privacy-invading exercises.
The NEA position about sex education is explicit. The school must be the ultimate authority and must assert its right to put children of any age “in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality,” including birth control, incest, AIDS, and “diversity of sexual orientation.”
Anything But Phonics would be a good way to describe the NEA resolutions about curriculum. The NEA is more interested in filling up the classroom day with bilingual education (the NEA opposes English as our official language), multicultural and global ed (which is an attack on patriotism and the American culture), environmental ed (which is usually propaganda for the redistribution of U.S. wealth to Third World regimes), suicide ed, and “guidance and counseling” integrated into all subjects.
NEA resolutions support the entire feminist agenda, including the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion without any restriction or regulation, Comparable Worth (defined as rejecting “market value” as the basis for salaries), gender-free (i.e., non-traditional) career awareness, revising textbooks with “nonsexist” language, and ratification of the United Nations Convention on Discrimination Against Women.
The NEA resolutions endorse a wide variety of leftwing causes unrelated to education. These include passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), affirmative action (especially for sexual orientation), nationalized health care, statehood for the District of Columbia, banning capital punishment, providing schooling and other taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens, allowing the National Endowment for the Arts full freedom to award taxpayers’ money to indecent “art,” opposition to a moment of silence in public schools, support of the International Criminal Court, more money for the United Nations, and a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez.
NEA convention speakers boasted about the defeat of the Paycheck Protection initiative in California in June, which would have required written consent from state employees before their salaries would be subject to a union checkoff for political purposes. One speaker called the NEA victory “a political miracle,” but the real explanation is that the unions spent $30 million to defeat the proposition.
There’s no denying the NEA’s political clout: the NEA-PAC ranks among the top ten of 4,000 political action committees in receipts and expenditures. Campaign cash funneled to Democratic candidates from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers unions, from 1993 to 1998, totaled the staggering amount of $11,176,749.00!
And what about the second biggest teachers union? When Bill Clinton spoke to the AFT convention in July, AFT President Sandra Feldman announced to the delegates: “He is America’s No. 1 teacher . . . we are all his students.”
NEA Adopts Feminist ‘Action Plan’
The 1998 NEA Convention adopted the feminist “Action Plan for Equity.” The plan calls for “the realization of equal rights for women and men.” It instructs union members to lobby their Congressmen, join coalitions, and provide support for groups involved in civil rights litigation in order to achieve NEA goals. The goals include electing candidates who support the NEA’s legislative agenda, ensuring abortion on demand, securing the reintroduction and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and securing ratification of international conventions that “advance equity in international forums.”
The plan provides for “women’s leadership training workshops and grants” to state affiliates for the purpose of “developing a cadre of effective multicultural women leaders who are ready and able to assume elective and appointive office in the Association. It vows to “promote methods such as textbook evaluation, revision for inclusive curricula, and instructional delivery systems” to ensure “equity in education.”
The NEA’s 1998 Lobbying Agenda
- Early childhood development and education services by certified personnel for all children.
- Creation and maintenance of a national database on early childhood care and education programs.
- Federal programs to enhance school-based health programs.
- Establishment and funding of programs to support safe, quality medical practices provided by professional/ certified school nurses.
- Partnerships of public schools/postsecondary education with government, labor, business, and community-based groups in development and implementation of job training and retraining programs.
- The addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
- Reproductive freedom without government intervention.
- Passage of ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal.
- Effective integration of guidance and counseling into the entire education experience.
- A tax supported, single-payer health care plan for all residents of the U.S., its territories, and Puerto Rico.
- Bilingual education and affirmative action programs.
- Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
- A national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez.
- U.S. participation in and equitable financing of the United Nations and related bodies.
- The establishment and maintenance of federal wilderness areas, recreation areas, refuge areas, and designated local green areas.
- Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
- Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Federal legislation to combat hate crimes, sexual harassment and violence against individuals.
- Federal programs that provide public school educators with resources and materials to combat the rising growth of hate groups.
- Federal legislation that emphasizes the development of multicultural/multilingual education programs in public schools.
- Comprehensive, community-based drug and violence-prevention programs that link community resources with schools, and integrate services involving education, vocational and job skills training and placement, law enforcement, health, mental health, community service, mentoring.
- Direct federal assistance to enable public schools and colleges to provide Internet access for their students and employees.
Some NEA Resolutions Passed at the 1998 Convention
A-13. Federal Financial Support for Education. The Association believes that funding for federal programs should be substantially increased.
A-15. Financial Support of Public Education. Funds must be provided for programs to alleviate race, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination and to eliminate portrayal of race, gender, and sexual orientation stereotypes in the public schools. The Association opposes the use of public revenues for private, parochial, or other nonpublic pre-K through 12 schools.
A-19. Undocumented Immigrants. The National Education Association believes that, regardless of the immigration status of students or their parents, every student has the right to a free public education in an environment free from harassment.
A-28. Federally or State-Mandated Choice/Parental Option Plans. The Association opposes federally or state-mandated choice or parental option plans.
A-29. Voucher Plans and Tuition Tax Credits. The National Education Association believes that voucher plans and tuition tax credits or funding formulas that have the same effect — under which pre-K through 12 nonpublic school education is subsidized by tax monies — undermine public education, reduce the support needed to adequately fund public education, and have the potential for racial, economic, and social segregation of children. The Association opposes all attempts to establish and/or implement such plans.
B-1. Early Childhood Education. The National Education Association supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight. These programs should be available to all children on an equal basis and should include mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.
B-6. Diversity. The National Education Association believes that our diverse society enriches all individuals. Similarities and differences among races, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, geographic location, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, size, occupation, and marital, parental, or economic status form the fabric of our society.
B-7. Racism, Sexism, and Sexual Orientation Discrimination. The National Education Association believes in the equality of all individuals. Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, immigration status, physical disabilities, ethnicity, occupation, and sexual orientation must be eliminated. The Association also believes that plans, activities, and programs for education employees, students, parents, and the community should be developed to identify and eliminate discrimination and stereotyping in all educational settings. Such plans, activities, and programs must —
- Increase respect, understanding, acceptance, and sensitivity toward individuals and groups in a diverse society composed of such groups as American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics, women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities
- Eliminate discrimination and stereotyping in the curriculum, textbooks, resource and instructional materials, activities, etc.
- Foster the use of nondiscriminatory, nonracist, nonsexist and nonstereotypical language, resources, practices, and activities
- Offer positive and diverse role models in our society including the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of diverse education employees in our public schools.
The Association encourages its affiliates to develop and implement training programs on these matters.
B-28. Multicultural Education. The National Education Association believes that the goal of multicultural education is the recognition of individual and group differences and similarities in order to reduce racism, ethnic prejudices, and discrimination and to develop self-esteem as well as respect for others.
B-29. Global Education. The National Education Association believes that global education increases respect for and awareness of the earth and its people. Global education imparts information about cultures and an appreciation of our interdependency in sharing the world’s resources to meet mutual human needs.
B-31. Career Education. The career education concept must be interwoven into the total educational system and needs to include programs in gender-free career awareness.
B-35. Family Life Education. The Association believes that education in these areas must be presented as part of an anti-biased, culturally-sensitive program.
B-36. Sex Education. The Association recognizes that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in providing the instruction. 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. Such programs should include information on sexual abstinence, birth control and family planning, diversity of culture, diversity of sexual orientation, parenting skills, prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment.
B-37. AIDS Education. The National Education Association believes that educational institutions should establish comprehensive acquired human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) and AIDS syndrome education programs as an integral part of the school curriculum.
B-39. Environmental Education. The Association urges the development and improvement of educational programs that will promote the concept of the interdependence of humanity and nature.
B-61. Internet Access. The National Education Association believes that every classroom and school library/media center should have toll-free, seamless, and equal access to the Internet.
B-67. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When a home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state requirements. 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. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
C-1. Health Care for All Children. The National Education Association believes that every child should have direct and confidential access to comprehensive health care. The Association further believes that legislation should be adopted to provide comprehensive health care to all children.
C-7. Child Care. The National Education Association believes that all child care centers should be examined and monitored on a continuous basis, and additional legislation should be sought as necessary to maintain the highest quality child care. The Association encourages school districts and educational institutions to establish on-site child care for preschoolers, students, the children of students, and the children of staff members.
C-23. School Counseling Programs. The National Education Association believes that guidance and counseling programs should be integrated into the entire education system.
C-31. Suicide Prevention Programs. The National Education Association believes that suicide prevention programs including prevention, intervention, and postvention must be developed and implemented. The Association urges its affiliates to ensure that these programs are an integral part of the school program.
E-9. Academic and Professional Freedom. The National Education Association believes that academic freedom is essential to the teaching profession. Academic freedom includes the rights of teachers and learners to explore and discuss divergent points of view. The Association further believes that legislation and regulations that mandate or permit the teaching of religious doctrines and/or groups that promote antipublic education agendas violate both student and teacher rights.
F-2. Pay Equity/Comparable Worth. The Association supports all efforts to attain accurate and unbiased forms of job evaluation and to raise the pay of those jobs that are presently undervalued. 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-35. Employees with HIV/AIDS. The National Education Association believes that education employees shall not be fired, nonrenewed, suspended (with or without pay), transferred, or subjected to any other adverse employment action solely because they have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) antibody or have been diagnosed as having HIV/AIDS.
H-6. National Health Care Policy. The Association supports the adoption of a single-payer health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Association will support health care reform measures that move the United States closer to this goal.
H-10. D.C. Statehood. The Association supports efforts to achieve statehood for the District of Columbia.
I-3. International Court of Justice. The National Education Association recognizes that the International Court of Justice is one instrument to resolve international disputes peacefully. The Association urges participation by the United States in deliberations before the court.
I-10. Human Rights. The Association condemns the practice of capital punishment and believes that the alternative, life imprisonment without parole, better protects the basic human rights of all.
I-13. Family Planning. The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association further urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.
I-18. Immigration. 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.
I-22. Freedom of Creative Expression. The Association supports the freedom of publicly funded agencies to exercise judgment in the awarding of grants to individuals and organizations.
I-25. Human Relations in the School. The Association calls for school recruitment and staffing policies that will ensure culturally diverse school employees [and] appropriate classroom and other student-related activities.
I-27. Freedom of Religion. The Association opposes any federal legislation or mandate that would require school districts to schedule a moment of silence. The Association particularly opposes a moment of silence as a condition for receiving federal funds.
I-46. English as the Official Language. 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-49. 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. Personnel policies must include family leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, leave for adoption of a child, child-care leave, and professional leave. The Association believes that sexism and sex discrimination must be eliminated and endorses the use of nonsexist language.