20 Aug Behind the Curtain of the Teacher’s Union
From the Desk of Laura Bunker:
Here in the U.S., the end of August means the beginning of the school year. One school principal described it as her favorite time of year, when a hush settles through the halls, as teachers and students become acquainted and begin their first lessons together.
We acknowledge the many dedicated educators who give their best to our children. Their gifts are priceless, and their positive influence is often felt for years to come. However, as this school year begins, we wish to raise awareness of a not-so-positive influence that both parents and teachers should be aware of.
Today’s alert by Dawn Frandsen reveals the sobering ideology and agendas of the National Education Association (NEA). We hope this increased awareness will help you look for ways to limit the negative aspects of the NEA’s influence in your community’s schools, and your children’s lives.
Parents and educators, please get involved and speak up! There are those behind the curtain who are counting on your silence to move their agenda forward.
United Families International, President
Teacher’s Union Dues And Don’ts
By Dawn Frandsen
According to the federal government, there are 3.1 million full-time teachers in the public school system. The National Education Association (NEA)—the nation’s largest labor union—claims 3.2 million members. Obviously, not all teachers are union members and not all union members are teachers, but the math makes it clear that the NEA is a voice to be reckoned with, not only in legislative lobbying and policy crafting but also in the hewing and shaping the curriculum that daily guides our children’s thought processes.
The NEA’s national meeting has about 8,000 delegates who represent most segments of professional and retired preK-16 educators. Their website claims that when they meet, they are “the largest deliberative assembly in the world.” At that meeting, they vote on strategic plans, legislative programs and a long list of New Business agenda items.
Long established as a “honey pot for left-wing political causes that have nothing to do with teachers, much less students,” the agenda items passed at this year’s national convention clearly positions the group as vanguard leaders of the latest trending left-wing social issues.
Starting at the top of the list, New Business Item A, states:
“The NEA will develop educational materials for its state affiliates and members about the potential dangers of so-called ‘religious freedom restoration acts’ or RFRAs, which may license individuals and corporations to discriminate on the theory that their religious beliefs require such actions. The materials will describe the current legal landscape at the federal and state level, provide model state legislative amendments to modify existing laws to prevent such discriminatory applications, provide talking points for advocacy, and link to existing resources for members and state affiliates to use in efforts to prevent the use of such laws as a license to discriminate.”
Yes, you read that right. According to the Union, ‘religious freedom restoration acts’ (RFRAs) are not only dangerous, but need to be eliminated because they are nothing more than a vehicle for a legal “license to discriminate.”
And there’s more
New Business Item B (NBI-B) is equally mind blowing. It addresses the inherent evils of “institutional racism.” This term is responsible for a long list of horribles including all the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri last summer. The basic concept is simple enough—white people are bad. NBI-B, was so important that it was introduced by the Board of Directors and passed the body unanimously.
NBI 17 (New Business Item 17) reiterates the postulation of NBI-B by announcing that the NEA will, “work with historical scholars and social justice organizations that seek to correct the inaccurate history that is presented in many of our American History textbooks concerning the causes, the immediate aftermath, and the long term effects of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.” (By the way, as a related aside, do you know about the new AP U.S. History curriculum?)
NBI-30, NBI-31, NBI-42, NBI-45, NBI-74, NBI-78, NBI-86, NIB-95 and NBI-107 were all approved by the assembly members. All of these business items deal with fostering LGBTQ rights in schools. There is a heavy dose of creating safe school spaces for gender-nonconforming students, but also, how to be sensitive in addressing them or assigning them pronouns; the need to create accommodating dress codes; instructing libraries on the need to include age-appropriate books that highlight LGBT and other non-traditional families; and the damaging impact of conversion and reparative therapy.
(On another related aside, in an effort to address the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS in teens, the White House just updated their recommendations for school sex education classes calling for “accessible information and education resources about transmission and prevention for people of all sexual orientations and ages, including school-aged youth,” and included the recommendation that children be educated about, and safe spaces be created for, those with existing HIV diagnosis because, “discrimination can be a consequence of stigma and may occur when unfair actions are made against individuals on the basis of their belonging to a particular stigmatized group.
HIV-related stigma can be confounded with or made more complicated by stigma related to substance use, mental health, sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, or sex work.” Sadly we all know that it is a short walk from being a White House “recommendation” to a Department of Education requirement, to becoming a State and local district curriculum implementation.)
Papa John’s Pizza Out, Planned Parenthood In
The NEA also voted to take a formal stand against all things Koch brothers; Papa John’s pizza; the Confederate flag; the transportation of crude oil; and of course vouchers. Members should also “oppose legislative efforts to pass rules or laws that make it impossible for family planning clinics to carry out their mission,” so a thumbs-up for Planned Parenthood. But another thumbs down for GMOs, because of their “potential environmental impacts, and related health concerns.” (Curious that finding ways to efficiently and economically feed starving people should be opposed by a group who claims to want to help the oppressed.)
No one can blame teachers en masse. Unless they live in a right-to-work state or have paycheck protection laws, not being a member of the union isn’t always a choice and even if you are in a state with those protections, it is generally an opt-out rather than an opt-in process to get out of having the dues automatically extracted from monthly checks to fund the union agenda carte blanche.
And sadly teachers generally can’t do much more than parents can about prescribed and required curriculum—a situation that is becoming very frustrating to many educators.
It is no secret that the education agenda has been leaning left for years if not decades. Once anything starts to lean, it is difficult to stop it from toppling over all together. Perhaps the best and possibly only recourse against this breakdown is to increase parental rights in the schools.
Many states are stepping forward to prevent this type of over reach. For example, the State of Utah passed a bill this year titled Protections on Parental Guidance in Public Schools. The new law requires a school to obtain prior written consent from a parent before a child is instructed in any sex-ed curriculum and if the parent chooses, the requirement must be waived with no penalty to the student’s academic or citizenship grade. The law also says that if a “secondary student, determines that the student’s participation in a portion of the curriculum or in an activity would require the student to affirm or deny a religious belief or right of conscience or engage or refrain from engaging in a practice forbidden or required in the exercise of a religious right or right of conscience” then the student can request not to participate or ask for an alternative assignment.
This sort of legal language does not solve the problem of the rising tide of progressive and liberal ideas our children must deal with every day, but it does give parents and families some ability to resist the undertow and defend their values in the public school arena.
And these days, every little bit helps.
Dawn Frandsen is: Wife to one; Mother to six; Adamant advocate for large families and small government; On an unremitting quest for the perfect brownie recipe.