Since the National Education Association describes itself as "America's largest organization committed to advancing the cause of public education," is it not fair to ask why it spends so much of its energy on political issues having little to do with education?
It would be ludicrous for the NEA to deny its political activism. In 1996, it employed more political operatives than both major political parties combined. It would be just as ridiculous for it to deny its liberalism, but it does, claiming to be bipartisan. But since the NEA established its Political Action Committee in 1972, it has supported and endorsed every Democratic presidential candidate and has overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates at the congressional level as well.
During the first week of July, the NEA held its annual weeklong convention in New Orleans, where it considered more than 300 proposed policy resolutions, many concerning controversial issues not remotely related to education.
A review of the NEA's consistent stances on these issues provides further proof that whatever else it may claim to be, it is clearly a political arm of the left wing that endorses the liberal position on such issues as abortion, homosexual rights, capital punishment and gun control.
The NEA is also fully supportive of what are called the "multicultural" and "diversity" agendas. In two resolutions issuing from its 1999 convention it affirmed its commitment not only to "diversity"-based curricula, but urged that it be introduced in early childhood (from birth through age 8) education programs. One of the resolutions stated "that a diverse society enriches all individuals." Part of this enriching diversity, it said, is people with differences in "sexual orientation."
On Feb. 8, 2002, the organization went further, adopting a plan to make schools safe and hospitable for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and education employees. The plan was ostensibly targeted at punishing "harassment" and "discrimination."
The NEA's press release promoting the plan said the union would endeavor "to provide students, education employees and the general public with accurate, objective and up-to-date information regarding the needs of, and problems confronting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students." Any such information, according to the statement, would be "nonjudgmental in terms of sexual orientation/gender identification." This is how the NEA organizes its education priorities. One is left to wonder what "objective" information educators would provide under the plan, not to mention the import of the word "nonjudgmental." Did it mean what it usually does: that those with opposing views would be denied their voice?
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