“I want each and every one of you to know with certainty that, when you stand up to the privatizers and the voucher pushers, you’ll have behind you every bit of support that this organization can muster.” That “every bit of support” started with a one million dollar contribution to defeat the school choice initiative on the California ballot on November 2.
With those words, Keith Geiger, president of the National Education Association (NEA), threw down the gauntlet against parents during the NEA’s annual convention, held in San Francisco on July 2-5. The $1 million check was approved unanimously by the NEA’s board of directors because, in Geiger’s words, “there’s no better cause for that money.”
The NEA’s passion against school choice was explained by Del Weber, president of the California NEA affiliate, which plans to spend $10 million to defeat the November 2 ballot initiative. “There are some proposals that are so evil,” he said, “that they should never be presented to the voters.”
The NEA antagonism against parents’ choice in schools has nothing to do with quality education. It has everything to do with power.
Those who want chapter and verse to document the power goals of the NEA should refer to the sensational June 7 cover story in Forbes magazine called “The National Extortion Association.”
The California choice initiative should bring about a tremendous savings to taxpayers. Each schoolchild whose parents exercise the choice would henceforth cost the taxpayers only $2,500 per year (the price of the voucher) instead of $5,000 (the price of keeping the child in public school).
But the NEA isn’t about saving the taxpayers’ money, it’s about retaining control over the minds of schoolchildren. The hundreds of resolutions passed by the some 9,000 delegates at the 1993 convention show arrogance of power, a compulsion to control the minds and behavior of children, and a pervasive hostility toward parents.
The NEA demands “early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight.” Since the public schools have done such a poor job of educating kids from age six to 18, who but the NEA could, with a straight face, think it would be good idea to turn over infants and toddlers to them, too?
The NEA demands mandatory kindergarten and heavy regulation of homeschooling. The resolutions demand that homeschooling parents be licensed and their curriculum approved in advance by an NEA-staffed agency. The whole reason some parents dedicate themselves to the task of homeschooling is that they do NOT want the public school curriculum.
The NEA demands that every student have “immediate, direct, and confidential access to health, social and psychological services.” ”Confidential” means without parents being informed when their children are given contraceptives and other kinds of sex services.
The NEA asserts “the right of every individual [i.e., schoolchildren of any age] to live in an environment of freely available information, knowledge, and wisdom about sexuality.” This means: Parents, butt out; the schools are going to tell primary schoolchildren all about how to engage in sex and with what devices.
The NEA demands that “guidance and counseling programs should be integrated into the entire education system, beginning at the prekindergarten level.” That means the NEA wants group psychotherapy at every grade level, regardless of parental wishes.
NEA speakers were especially vocal at·th is year’s convention with complaints that “time limitations are impacting the working lives of teachers” and inhibiting their work. At the same time, they demand telephones in every classroom, faxes, E-mail, televisions, and VCRs.
Special Caucuses at the San Francisco convention included Peace and Justice, Green Earth, Gay and Lesbian, Wellness, Women’s, and Physically Challenged, and they all distributed position papers. The Gay and Lesbian Caucus promotes Project 21, a program in which students are taught about the gay liberation movement and discuss historically famous figures’ sexual preference when it is thought to be homosexual.
Non-school causes endorsed by this year’s NEA resolutions include tax-financed socialized medicine, statehood for the District of Columbia, gays in the military, and approval of the right of the National Endowment for the Arts to spend tax dollars on the “creative” obscenities of their choice. The NEA is politically involved in several state initiatives (in addition to California) including opposition to term limits, tax limitation, and property tax reduction, and support of gay rights.
The convention delegates gave President Clinton a triumphant reception: 88 percent of them voted at last year’s convention to endorse his candidacy. The crowd was revved up for his appearance by an NEA-prepared video that drew huge cheers for clips of the Kennedy brothers and hisses and boos for clips of George Bush and Dan Quayle.
The NEA budget for the current year is $173 million and covers a staff of 553 persons. That includes tens of millions of dollars for lobbying hidden under various euphemisms such as Government Relations and Communications.