July 30, 2003
Tropical Storm Bill roared into New Orleans this summer carrying
in its tailwind 10,000 convention delegates who purport to represent
2.7 million members of the National Education Association. They call
themselves "the world's largest democratic, deliberative body," but the
NEA's version of democracy is: majority rules, and the minority have
The NEA accords no rights to the 30 percent of NEA members who are
Republicans. Since 1976 when the NEA became a big player in national
politics by supporting Jimmy Carter, the NEA has endorsed a Democrat
for President in every election.
This year, NEA federal policy manager Randall J. Moody announced
plans to target 16 states he thinks the NEA can carry for a "pro-
education" Democratic President against George W. Bush in 2004, and 40
to 45 House races where they can recruit "moderate" candidates. The
NEA plans to raise funds for candidates, provide direct-mail services,
and "turn out the vote."
Another significant minority was rebuffed when it urged NEA
delegates to "stick to education issues and not promote abortion." The
majority remained adamant in retaining the NEA's pro-abortion position,
rejecting all pleas to be consistent with other NEA resolutions calling
for tolerance, diversity, and respect for religious views of all
For many years, NEA resolutions have endorsed "early childhood
education programs in the public schools for children from birth
through age eight," specifically including "diversity-based curricula,"
and "bias-free screening devices." The NEA has repeatedly resolved
that "kindergarten attendance should be mandatory" and "full-day," and
the NEA now plans to provide model legislation and "legal, technical,
and other support services" to help state legislatures enact such
What's new this year is that the NEA delegates resolved to make an
all-out push for the establishment "in every state" of two years of
"universal," taxpayer-funded, "full-day -- as opposed to half-day"
pre-kindergarten "for all three- and four-year-old children." The NEA
claims this is the fulfillment of the national education goal that "all
children in America will start school ready to learn."
The pre-kindergarten demand is based on the NEA's false assumption
that "there is no longer any serious doubt about the value of pre-
kindergarten." In fact, what there is no longer any serious doubt
about (as shown by the authoritative study just released by the
National Institutes of Health) is that the more hours children spend in
daycare, a.k.a. pre-kindergarten, the higher the incidence and severity
of problem behaviors, such as disobedience, over-aggressiveness, and
The NEA's pettiness and vindictiveness against homeschoolers was
manifested by the contentious debate on Resolution B-69 which
originally read: "The Association also believes that unfunded home-
schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular
activities in the public schools."
The word "unfunded" got into the proposed resolution because a
handful of public schools provide funding for homeschoolers to
participate in after-school activities. NEA delegates voted to delete
the word "unfunded" because they oppose allowing homeschoolers, funded
or unfunded, to associate with public school students who are "with us
Two years ago, the NEA received damaging national publicity when
word leaked out that the convention was going to adopt an in-your-face
resolution demanding that the gay rights agenda be incorporated into
everything from school curricula to teacher hiring. Revolt in the
ranks caused it to be withdrawn.
But that was all smoke and mirrors; that convention quietly
adopted at least ten separate resolutions that added up to the same
objectives as the one withdrawn, and this year's convention re-adopted
the same resolutions.
NEA President Reg Weaver's keynote address spelled out the NEA's
opposition to the No Child Left Behind Act, calling it "a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde ... a wolf in sheep's clothing ... rhetoric not reform."
The NEA didn't oppose NCLB in Congress because it is the biggest
spending education bill ever passed, but now NEA politicos see it as a
useful tool to hammer at George W. Bush and elect a "pro-education
President" who, of course, is defined as a Democrat.
The NEA's Standing Committee on Women's Issues demanded continuing
NEA support for Title IX quota policies, the University of Michigan's
position on affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment, and the
United Nations treaties on Discrimination against Women and the Rights
of the Child. The NEA Standing committee on Sexual Orientation/Gender
Identification reported enthusiastic NEA support for "comprehensive
sexual health education in schools," which of course means the positive
presentation of homosexuality.
The 2003 convention proves again that the NEA is always about
coopting more taxpayers' money, creating more jobs for NEA members,
getting tighter control over children from the earliest possible age,
and preserving the teachers union monopoly in the public schools.