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Defund the NEA

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

America’s big teachers’ unions have essentially declared war on parents—and not just conservative, Christian parents: on all rational, fair-minded parents who are not completely on board with hateful, racist Critical Race Theory and other radical ideologies being pushed by the far-left unions.


And that includes many minority parents.  

In a statement last week, the National Education Association declared CRT “reasonable and appropriate” and vowed to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric.”  

Well, okey-doke. If it’s a fight they want, I say we give it to them.  

Meanwhile, the American Federation of Teachers has for months been at the forefront of efforts to keep schools closed and force masks on those children who do attend in person. AFT officials even helped formulate the CDC’s “guidance” on school masking and reopening. Now they’re among the groups pushing experimental vaccines for young children, who are already at lower risk from COVID than vaccinated older adults.  

Sadly, these latest salvos from the unions are hardly surprising, nor are they anything particularly new—just a little more brazen than usual. Perhaps union leaders feel emboldened by the spectacle of so many decent people behaving like lemmings for the past 16 months in the face of authoritarian government overreach. Nothing entices incipient totalitarians out of their closets quite like watching their fellow travelers succeed.   

Indeed, K-12 education has always been one of those annoying professions where practitioners tend to feel superior and behave arrogantly—kind of like medicine, except physicians can at least lay claim to highly specialized knowledge and skills. Your doctor may actually know more than you—although, in the wake of so much stupid COVID advice, we have to wonder—but your child’s teacher almost certainly does not.  


Yet she will probably act like it, if for any reason you have to interact with her. Having seen four children through public school, I can attest to that. Most teachers are utterly convinced they know far more about what’s good for your child than you do—and administrators are even worse. 

Not all teachers are like that, of course. Nevertheless, this mindset is endemic within the profession. Collectively, they literally consider your children to be theirs, believing they know better how to raise them and, as representatives of the state, have more right to do so. Unions are merely the embodiment of that attitude.  

Again, this is not meant to paint all teachers with a broad brush. The unions do not represent all of them. Many, as I wrote several weeks ago, are our allies in this fight—and that probably includes quite a few who are actually on the unions’ membership rolls.   

For that reason, I call on all teachers of good will to prove they are truly allies of parents and students—to join our side, the side of justice and truth, in this war their unions have declared. And there is one key action they can take immediately that will make all the difference: They can resign from the union and stop paying dues—or refuse to join if they haven’t already. 

Because the best way to ultimately defeat the teachers’ unions, I’m convinced, is to cut off their funding source. Without the millions they rake in each year from members’ dues, they have no money to carry out their hideous, anti-American, anti-child agenda. Nor, if their membership rolls dwindle sufficiently, can they claim to represent any significant majority of teachers.   


I understand that, in many states, teachers are more or less “forced” to join a union. But did you know that’s illegal? In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that unions could no longer force workers to pay dues. That means, even in non-right-to-work states, teachers don’t have to join the union if they don’t want to. Note, by the way, that this ruling applies specifically to public-sector unions. 

Yes, local school systems, individual administrators, and even their peers might exert various forms of pressure on teachers to join. But according to SCOTUS, legally, the choice is still theirs.   

For teachers in right-to-work states—which is say, mostly Red states—leaving (or refusing to join) the union should be easier. I know first-hand that a lot of teachers join just for the perks, like insurance and free legal representation in case they’re sued. Fortunately, there are non-partisan alternatives to the NEA and AFT that offer many of the same benefits, such as theAssociation of American Educators.  

The bottom line, teachers, is this: Either you’re for us or you’re against us. Either you agree to teach the truth about America’s history while promoting equality and understanding or you prefer to teach dishonest, divisive CRT. Either you want to see our children’s beautiful, precious faces each morning, or you insist on hiding them behind a filthy piece of cloth. Either you believe in educating kids in core academic subjects, or you wish to see them indoctrinated into a far-left worldview.   


There can no longer be any middle ground. You must choose a side. If you continue to support the NEA or the AFT with your dues, then you have made your choice. And we will treat you accordingly. 

Meanwhile, if you choose correctly, and it doesn’t seem to work out—if you lose your job or get forced out of your school—well, take courage. I have a feeling there will be a great need for good teachers in the hundreds of small, private schools and home-study groups that will soon be springing up across the land as parents do THEIR part to defund the NEA—by removing their children from the public schools.  

After all, fewer students equals fewer dues-paying teachers.  

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