The abortion-neutral motion has always been decisively defeated, never getting as much as 25 percent of the vote, and sometimes it is even ruled out of order by the chairman. This year, something remarkable happened.
The pro-lifers introduced their motion as a bylaw amendment instead of as a resolution, a procedure that calls for a secret, written ballot instead of a voice vote. Although the abortion-neutral motion failed, mirabile dictu, the secret ballot produced an amazing 39.4 percent voting for the abortion-neutral measure.
The swansong speech of the NEA's retiring general counsel, Bob Chanin, showcased the NEA's animosity toward parents and others who don't agree with the NEA's left-wing views. Chanin, who served the NEA for 41 years, pitched his speech to respond to his own question: "Why are these conservative and right-wing bastards picking on NEA and its affiliates?"
Chanin answered, "NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power, and we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year."
Such arrogance! The NEA would have a small fraction of its power and bank account if it had to depend on teachers "willing to pay" dues.
In many states, teachers pay union dues because it is a condition of their employment. Many of the NEA's contracts require school districts to promptly fire any teacher who fails to pay dues.
Some of these "right-wing bastards" identified by Chanin included Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, and the Bush administration's Department of Education. He added: "We are not paranoid, someone really is after us."
Chanin is correct. Conservatives are after the NEA. Because this powerful organization has effective control of the public schools, spends millions of taxpayers' dollars to indoctrinate schoolchildren, and spends millions of its own money to lobby for left-wing goals, the NEA deserves to be subjected to citizen surveillance and criticism.
For many years, the NEA nestled behind its status as a professional "association"; after all, that's its name. But Chanin now unapologetically played up the NEA as a union, saying, "NEA and its affiliates should never lose sight of the fact that they are unions."
One final Item of note: the NEA convention voted down New Business Item 66, which would have required the union to make public the salaries and benefits received by its executives.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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