(RealClearWire) — Since a majority of students in most American school districts can’t read or perform math equations at grade level, you might think the nation’s largest teachers’ union would spend at least part of its annual national convention pushing solutions to this sad state of affairs.
Nope. The National Education Association did push a proposal to get rid of tests, though: maybe without tests, parents and others will quit talking about the monumental failures of our nation’s public schools.
And the union did take up dozens of “new business items” (NBIs) at its misnamed “representative assembly” this summer in Orlando, Fla. One of the NBIs urged all “affiliates” to avoid dealings with any jurisdiction that says or does anything the union doesn’t like — yet here they were meeting in Florida, a state run by, gasp!, a Republican.
Despite claims that Florida and other jurisdictions are “targeting” union-favored groups with “discrimination and violence,” it turns out the union was perfectly free to push its toxic worldview for several days, calling for specific attacks against its enemies and a propaganda campaign to back it up.
Truly devoted teachers — who put the interests of innocent children above the political agenda of unions — are listed among the NEA’s enemies. We’ve been crying out for decades seeking relief, but almost no one listens. And since unions control the conversation around education, most Americans are fooled into thinking that teachers agree with the union agenda.
We do not.
Unions — more aptly named the education mafia — have picked our pockets, exploited our profession, ravaged our students, and dismantled our once-great educational system, all while claiming to represent us. Every year, the unions push NBIs that are anathema to us and sell the American public a narrative full of misinformation, distortions, and outright lies.
Here’s a sampling: the union wants a “gun violence prevention summit” (probably to be held in Chicago, right?) and is pushing for what it calls “gun safety legislation” (which promotes laws like the ones that don’t work in Chicago and that leave teachers and students vulnerable to shooters).
The union embraces LGBTQ+ and all the woke baggage that accompanies it, like pronouns and drag queen story hours. Several of this year’s proposals pertain to LGBTQ+ and trans issues, and all are phrased in an us-vs.-them formulation. The union is pushing this stuff — hard — in our public schools, and it’s seriously damaging our kids. Good teachers who push back get crushed.
The union attached cost estimates for each NBI. Implementing all of them would have totaled nearly $12 million.
That’s a lot of money, but remember, the NEA is filthy rich. It takes cash from its members and uses a large portion of the “dues” money for political activities almost exclusively devoted to lobbying for more taxpayer funds to promote hot-button leftist causes in public school classrooms.
The education mafia is by far the largest legislative lobbying group in many states and often sets the political agenda for politicians, who benefit from union help during elections and are happy to meet political and bargaining goals set by the union.
So, if reading, math, and protecting childhood innocence aren’t important to the union, what is?
Palestine, for one. NBI 3 laments that “many educators are not even aware that Palestine exists,” which would be big news down at the UN. And while pushing for special favors for students identifying as Palestinian, the union proposes to “educate” members and the public against the dangers of anti-Semitism. What a hoot. Most people who follow the news know that anti-Semitism is a favorite activity of the Left generally — the education mafia included.
But enough about hypocrisy. What else interests the unions?
One proposal characterizes those opposed to LGBTQ+ demands as “hard-line fascist thugs.”
On immigration, the NEA calls for “asylum for all.” It demands “culturally responsive pedagogical and curricular resources,” a polite way of saying “propaganda.”
And here’s another one that has nothing to do with teachers or student success. The NEA will also “call on President Biden to expand the Supreme Court to restore American democracy.” In its present form, the Court, in the NEA’s judgment, is “an illegitimate court, shaped by Trump.”
Speaking of courts, at least two proposals pertained to the high court’s 2018 Janus decision, in which the justices ruled that unions cannot compel teachers to pay dues that would be spent to push beliefs with which teachers disagree. Though it was teachers (including me) who brought this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court after decades of being forced to pay unions — blazing the trail for Janus — that constitutionally sound decision, the NEA says, has simply got to go.
That’s why, even post-Janus, teachers who don’t want to pay for NEA political priorities are ostracized, branded, and bullied.
Now you know how unions capitalize on teachers (and students) in their scheme to sabotage our republic. So while great teachers work feverishly to educate children in reading, math, and other core subjects, the education mafia pulls the proverbial rug out from under us. They use our profession and resources to pass extremist NBIs more suited to Bolsheviks and the old Soviet Union.
The NEA lists as one of its strategic objectives to “strengthen public education as the cornerstone of democracy,” but today — thanks to unions — our public schools are overrun by drugs, bullies, gangs, politicized curricula, cultural rot, and union hectoring. They’re wholly-owned subsidiaries of the education mafia, which has expanded its holdings to include myriad politicians who benefit electorally.
The cornerstone of American democracy, as de Tocqueville and other greats have observed, is not public education but the American home. Parents (and the teachers serving them) can preserve and nurture democracy by resisting unions and administrations that push anti-democratic policies that further erode our national spirit.
This article was originally published by RealClearEducation and made available via RealClearWire.