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Back to Aug. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 139 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS AUGUST 1997
NEA-GLC Caucus Flaunts Its Power

Gay and lesbian activists may have become the most influential single group within the NEA convention. They distribute their action plans displaying the NEA logo, they advertise numerous caucuses and convention events, they flaunt their buttons and booths, and they have succeeded in weaving their agenda into about a dozen resolutions passed by the nearly 9,000 convention delegates.

For several years, "diversity" has been the code word for the gay/lesbian agenda. A one-word change in the Diversity resolution this year is significant and telling. Last year's resolution said that "education should increase tolerance." This year, "tolerance" was changed to "acceptance." One of the handouts boasted: "Diversity is the word and acceptance is the order."

The NEA Gay Lesbian Caucus (NEA-GLC) celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Prior to 1987, the handful of gays who attended the NEA convention caucused under the name "Ichabod Crane Debating Society." One of the delegates in Atlanta commented, "In the '70s you couldn't even mention the words 'gay' or 'homosexual' without getting booed off the [convention] floor."

They've come a long way since then. The NEA-GLC newsletter boasted: "NEA Board hosts GLC leaders." The NEA-GLC's headline attraction in Atlanta was Candace Gingrich, lesbian sister of Newt. She spoke at the caucus dinner on July 5 and was featured in a video shown at noon on the Fourth of July.

At another lesbian caucus, the big feature was a 90-minute video entitled "It's Elementary: Teaching About Gay Issues in School." This video shows how psychological manipulation in the classroom can be used to change children's home-taught attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality. The NEA Peace & Justice Caucus promoted the video "It's Elementary," calling it "masterful," and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN) advertised book and video lists and internet resources.

The NEA-GLC newsletters are informative. One article, entitled "Bill Clinton deserves our support for President," listed many examples of his "genuine commitment on our issues," such as, "Appointed gay/lesbian friendly Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the U.S. Supreme Court." Another article showed a picture of a New York City protest with demonstrators carrying signs stating "Fact: 74% of NYC school kids don't have 'traditional' families."

The NEA's Human & Civil Rights Action Sheet (marked with the NEA logo) sets forth the NEA's gay/lesbian agenda, including the plans to change classroom instruction, counseling programs, libraries, school-wide events, in-service training, and attitudes. Its blunt recommendations to teachers are:

  • Work with the school district, the parent-teacher organization, and community groups to provide information to other members, parents, and counselors about the developmental and health needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.

  • Provide training to enable selected staff to become resources to members on gay, lesbian, and bisexual student issues.

  • Recommend to the school district that in-service programs address gay, lesbian, and bisexual concerns; and that the library include positive learning materials about gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

  • Encourage the establishment and maintenance of peer support and community self-help programs for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.

  • Work with the school district to develop or expand school policy and curricula, including accurate portrayals of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals throughout history, and to ensure respect for diversity, including gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

  • Participate in coalitions to improve support and services for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.

 
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