No doubt meant as a slap at Texas’ recently adopted social studies and history guidelines, the NEA will ask major textbook publishers not to produce textbooks they believe reflect the "ideological whims of political extremists." The union will also press state legislators not to fund "ill-conceived standards for textbooks and other instructional supplies."
NEA delegates voted to challenge Arizona legislation prohibiting ethnic studies classes believed to promote ethnic resentment or advocate overthrowing the U.S. government. The union vowed to lend organizational and legal support to any affiliates working to defend or expand ethnic studies, and to publicize any research demonstrating the "social and academic value" of such programs.
As part of its Diversity Calendar, the NEA suggested schools celebrate the founding of China’s repressive communist regime on October 1. The reference disappeared from the NEA website after it was publicized by WorldNetDaily. (wnd.com, 7-29-10)
In contrast to 2007-2009, neither the NEA nor the AFT invited Obama or his aides to speak at their annual conventions last month, partly because union officials worried that administration speakers would face heckling. The unions have benefited from more than a 100% increase in federal education spending under Obama, but reject certain administration policies, including tying teacher evaluation to student performance. In his keynote speech, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel said the administration’s policies are "not the change I hoped for." (New York Times, 7-5-10)
NEA convention delegates used parliamentary procedure to quash discussion and voting on a measure that would have asked President Obama to replace education secretary Arne Duncan with "a person who is aligned with the interests of the NEA, its members, and especially the students it serves." Education blogger Stephen Sawchuk said delegates made Duncan a "whipping boy" for unpopular policies clearly backed by President Obama. (blogs.edweek.org, 7-4-10)