Vital Signs

Real Education Reform

For the first time in memory, teachers refused to be intimidated by the National Education Association’s leftist leadership.  At their annual convention in New Orleans on June 30, a large contingent of teacher-delegates insisted the NEA drop “reproductive freedom”/family planning from its voluminous list of resolutions and stick to topics actually relevant to schools and teaching.

Over the years, the NEA has amassed some 300 policy positions, itemized as annual resolutions and set out in a published legislative agenda.  The publication purportedly reflects all educators’ beliefs on assorted issues, from homosexual advocacy and criticism of capital punishment to abortion “rights.”  Parents, religious leaders, and even many teachers have winced at the increasingly bellicose demands of NEA leaders, who, since 1948, have consistently taken the most extreme positions on domestic and international issues.  Despite sporadic dissent, however, the NEA consolidated its hold through a rigid, three-tiered membership scheme in the early 1970’s, trammeling the rights of any heretic within the profession who dared express viewpoints contrary to the union’s “approved” stances.

From college onward, prospective and practicing teachers have been told that they need to be part of the “professional association” to be considered true professionals. ...

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