The National Education Association: Emphasis on the Ass.
by James Austin Bishop
August 30th, 2002
You are on the Enemies list.
Your name has been entered into a massive database of suspected malcontents. You've been marked as a member of a radical attack-group, your sinister goal to deny freedom of expression to fellow Americans, to prevent them from participating in the political process. You are a subversive element.
Who are you - Al-Qaeda? A member of the Communist party? Black Panthers? Neo-Nazis? A rabid militia group living on a commune in Montana? Big Tobacco? Big Fast-Food? A Boy Scout?
Which agency has outed you? The FBI? The CIA? The Office of Homeland Security? The ACLU? PETA? The SPCA? The Boy Scouts?
Answer to Question #1:
You are the parent of a public school student. You are you, and there you are.
Answer to Question #2:
The National Education Association (NEA), and boyoboy, do they have your number.
July 2nd through the 5th: NEA delegates meet in Dallas, Texas for the union's annual convention, and there they vote on a record 109 New Business Items (NBIs) (compared to 77 last year - see sidebar), none of which, unfortunately for public school kids, had anything to do with educating children. In fact, the vast majority of the NBIs were political, frivolous, and/or downright nuts.
And some of them are scary.
New Business Item 5, for example. This one calls on the NEA to provide "ongoing strategic information to members and affiliates that increase member knowledge of the ongoing attacks designed to destroy NEA and its affiliates, limit educators' freedom of speech and their right to political participation." This "strategic information" is to consist of "identification and history of individuals and organizations that support the attacks and sources of funds that support these attack efforts," "status reports on tactics used by attack groups at the local, state, and national levels," and "status reports on responses by NEA and its affiliates to deal with the attacks."
In her Phyllis Schlafley Report, the matriarch of conservative politics herself reminds us that "All this sounds ominously like a database on parents who object to NEA politicking or left-wing curricula. In NEA newspeak, "attack groups" means groups of concerned parents, and "attacks designed to destroy NEA" means support for vouchers or tax credits. "Limit educators' freedom of speech" means parental efforts to opt their children out of courses promoting premarital sex, gay rights or anti-Christian multiculturalism, and limiting "their right to political participation" means objecting to teachers proselytizing schoolchildren on behalf of the NEA's designated candidates, school tax increases and bond issues."
The paranoia evident in this attempt to address the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy in their own cute totalitarian way is typical of groups that have ventured far to the left of mainstream, and indicative of just how out-of-touch the NEA is with what should be its purpose - the education of America's young. Far from it - the NEA is a fiercely political leftist organization.
My opinion? Let's examine their own words.
In 1998 the NEA newsletter In Brief defined as "the Radical Right" a "wide range of groups including free-market conservatives, anti-government and anti-union ideologues, and religious fundamentalists with a political agenda." The newsletter accuses these groups of "touting Americanism while imposing their rigid religious and political values on the country."
I assume that means as opposed to the NEA's imposing their more reasonable a-religious and political values on their membership and school kids.
Specifically, the newsletter charges that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, the Hoover Institution, and the Heritage Foundation are "anti-government," claiming that these organizations "oppose public solutions to public problems."
The rant goes on:
"Radical right extremists are also attempting to impose a curriculum that mirrors their values and inculcates fundamentalist Christianity."
Presumably, the NEA's attempts to impose a curriculum that mirrors their own valueless, multiculturist ideals is ok, because, well, just because.
"They would exclude and devalue people who are poor, people of color, and people who are in any way different from them. In communities all over the country, members of the religious right have attempted to impose censorship and the teaching of creationism on the public schools. They've tried to cut guidance and anti-drug programs, health education, environmental education, and even Head Start."
According to the NEA, "the ultimate aim of the extreme right is the destruction of public education in America." The article ends with a call to action to "stop" the right wing's efforts to "discredit and dismantle public education by involving the public."
In other words, if those nasty right-wingers succeed in showing us up for the educational frauds and failures that we are, we'll all be out of jobs. Time to call out the leftist censorship juggernaut.
Paranoia is such an ugly thing.
It's difficult to laugh off these hysterical rantings, given that the NEA is the largest and most powerful teacher's union in the land.
And it is deeply troubling that the organization that ostensibly represents and is made up of those men and women who are entrusted with the formation of our children's minds hold that charge to be a distant second to the protection and propagation of Leftist ideology.
The danger to our public educational institutions does not come from subversive attack-dog moms and dads. The danger to our public educational institutions comes from the dominance of those institutions by the Left, whose driving motivation is the maintenance of power and defense of the sub-standard educational status quo.
The National Education Association is a dinosaur. It may be comforting to know that dinosaurs can't last long in the current climate, but this dino is a big one, and it has the potential to cause considerable damage to our culture, and to the minds of our young, as it lumbers its way towards extinction.
©2002 The Tocquevillian Magazine