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Back to August Ed Reporter
Education Reporter
NUMBER 211 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS AUGUST 2003

NEA Shows Zero Tolerance for Pro-Lifers,
Ex-Gays, & Homeschooled Students 
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NEW ORLEANS, LA - Although the National Education Association incessantly preaches "tolerance" and "diversity," the teachers union displayed a remarkable intolerance for all but the most liberal of views at its annual convention in July. Pro-life delegates and those advocating fair treatment of homosexuals who choose to leave the lifestyle incurred the wrath of the NEA leadership and a majority of the convention delegates.

I-12 Challenged 
Every year, pro-life delegates attempt to change or delete the NEA's family-planning resolution I-12, which supports "the right to reproductive freedom." This resolution further states: "The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel."

According to a report by the Education Intelligence Agency (EIA), this year the pro-lifers offered an amendment that "would have changed the language of I-12 to say explicitly what the NEA claims the current language already means: that the union neither supports nor opposes abortion." The group also submitted other amendments in order to gain additional opportunities to promote its motions.

The Ohio Daily Standard (7-18-03) described Ohio 7th-grade teacher Judy Bruns' two-minute speech before 400 convention delegates at a Resolutions Committee hearing on the proposed I-12 changes. Bruns chided the NEA for "taking stands that it shouldn't be taking and not sticking to educational issues." She reminded delegates that the union should be promoting "fair salaries," "benefits," and other education-related improvements instead of abortion. She noted that Resolution I-12 was last modified in 1986, asserting that "Few of us would be content with textbook information that is 17 years old."

Despite the efforts of Bruns and other pro-life delegates from several states, the motions to change Resolution I-12 were overwhelmingly rejected.

NBI 15 Hysteria 
Pennsylvania 2nd grade teacher Sissy Jochmann got a hysterical reaction from NEA convention delegates when she urged the union to support the right of public school students' not to engage in homosexual behavior. Jochmann introduced New Business Item 15, which read: "Whenever the NEA addresses sexual diversity issues (NEA/Health Information Network (HIN) publications, teacher training curricula, etc.), the NEA will uphold the individual's right to self determination and autonomy by presenting, without bias, the full scope of age-appropriate information on sexual diversity, including current research on sexual reparative therapies and sexual reorientation. The NEA will include the term 'ex-gay' or 'those with unwanted same sex attraction' in all policies listing sexually diverse groups and offer unbiased information on resources for sexually confused youth."

Jochmann's rationale for the NBI was that "NEA's diversity policies discriminate against those with unwanted same sex attractions by withholding available information and resources. NEA cannot credibly promote tolerance with this inconsistency."

Rather than consider Jochmann's proposal, the delegates raised a cacophony of boos and jeers during her two-minute address. "I was speaking to over 9,400 people," she told Agape Press (7-23-03), "and at one point, it was a thunderous roar. They didn't even want to consider debating the issue."

After the convention, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of College Counseling at Grove City College described Jochmann's proposal as "common sense" and "balanced." He pointed out that "since nearly 26% of teens in one large survey were uncertain about their sexuality, but only about 3 to 4% of the adult population identifies as gay or lesbian, there is much room for premature self-labeling."

Throckmorton also stated that this year the NEA flatly refused to accept an application from the organization Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) for a booth at the convention. In 2001 and 2002, the NEA also denied exhibit space to PFOX, but did accept the group's application. Later, union officials claimed that all available spaces were sold out while they continued to sell space to other organizations and vendors.

Pettiness Toward Homeschoolers 
Homeschoolers were also targeted for intolerance at the convention when a contentious battle broke out among delegates over the word "unfunded" in the NEA's resolution against homeschooling. Resolution B-69 reads: "The Association also believes that unfunded home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools." This sentence was originally included because a small number of public school districts provide funding for homeschoolers to participate in after-school activities.

While some delegates argued vehemently to retain the original language because they personally work with the homeschooled students, a majority eventually voted to delete the word "unfunded," making it clear that the NEA opposes allowing any home-schoolers, funded or unfunded, to associate with their public school peers.


 
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