photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
Outing the NEA
By: Lawrence Sand
The nation’s largest teachers union wants to teach your children about sex . . . and not the general concepts.
Sending me to a public school in New York in the 1950s was an easy decision for my parents. The schools were good, discipline was taught and practiced, and my parents knew that when I stepped inside the schoolhouse the values they instilled in me would be shared and reinforced by my teachers, the principal, the guidance counselor, and everyone else. At a minimum, no one would challenge their parental authority. Unfortunately, this is often not the case anymore. Academic standards have been lowered, grade inflation is prevalent, multiculturalism is rampant, and student violence toward other students and teachers is not uncommon. And the most prominent teachers unions are leading the charge to impose its leftist agenda on young people — and teach them graphic sexuality.
There is much happening behind the scenes, however, that most parents aren’t aware of when they send their little ones off to public school. Perhaps their greatest area of ignorance is the agenda of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the U.S. with more than 2.7 million members. The NEA’s politics have become more and more left-wing, especially over the past 20 years. Through diversity training classes, teachers are emboldened to introduce new definitions of “family” and sexuality to young children; religious and cultural traditions and holidays are being replaced by worship of “the earth,” and the “3 R’s” are taking a backseat to an aggressive “progressive” agenda that is more indoctrination than education – e.g., anti-Bush protests (in concert with the ultra liberal MoveOn.org), gun control legislation, gay rights, hate crimes legislation, and abortion on demand. While the NEA does not directly make school policy, they do create curricula that school boards adopt. Additionally, local union affiliates spend millions through their political action arm to get “their” people elected to school boards.
And woe be to any politician who commits the sin of challenging the teachers union. The NEA and its junior partner, the American Federation of Teachers, have committed millions of dollars to oppose California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempts to implement much-needed reforms in education and to limit spending increases in a state swimming in red ink. For his efforts, the governor has had to endure an onslaught of negative ads, painting him as an insensitive right-winger who doesn’t care about teachers or kids, and his approval ratings have plunged.
Reg Weaver, the current NEA president, has stated that the union’s rank and file is roughly 1/3 Democrat, 1/3 Republican and 1/3 independent, yet a huge percentage of the union’s political contributions — some estimate it as much as 95 percent — go to leftist politicians and causes. In 2004, Kerry supporters outnumbered Bush supporters there by more than 6–1. Predictably, they roared in approval last year when Hillary Clinton stepped in for John Kerry, who cancelled at the last minute, and gave a warm-up speech for a showing of Michael Moore’s controversial Bush-bashing film Fahrenheit 911.
While the NEA’s activities are very disturbing, there is a “David” to fight the Goliath. A small but energetic faction within the union called the Conservative Educator’s Caucus was formed by Sissy Jochmann, a second grade teacher in Pennsylvania, Jeralee Smith, a teacher of physically handicapped children in California and Judy Bruns, a junior high school language arts teacher in Ohio. They formed the CEC four years ago because they felt the NEA leadership was not being responsive to a significant proportion of their membership that disagreed with the union’s left-wing political and social agenda.
The issue that galvanized the group at the annual convention in 2001 was the introduction of a resolution to integrate radical homosexual themes — a central part of the NEA agenda — into the public school curriculum. In 2003, when Jochmann once again objected to this endorsement, she was shouted down by a vast majority of the delegates of the Representative Assembly. Compounding conservatives’ frustration, at its 2004 convention the NEA gave its prestigious Human Rights Award to Kevin Jennings, the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). This is the group that presided over the infamous “Fistgate” conference held at Tufts University in Massachusetts in March 2000, where state employees gave explicit instructions (about “fisting” and other forms of gay sexual activity) to children as young as 12. The conference was secretly recorded and can be heard here. The contents are extraordinarily vile.
Unfortunately, “Fistgate” was not an isolated incident. On April 30 of this year GLSEN held an event at Brookline High School in Massachusetts, and distributed an obscene booklet to hundreds of middle and high school students. With headings like F**kin’, S**kin’ and Spit or Swallow?, it describes various sexual practices that can only be described as perverse.
Because the CEC has protested this outrageous misuse of the classroom, they are branded homophobic. However, the CEC will not back off. Jochmann, who shrugged off being shouted down by more than 9,000 fellow NEA activists, and Smith, an acknowledged ex-homosexual demonized as a traitor to the cause, will not be intimidated by namecalling.
The NEA hardly appears to be acting in the best interests of our nation’s youth. If our children are our most precious commodity, then we, as a people, must speak up for them. The CEC is stepping up their efforts to change NEA policy. They want their union to fight for education, not to bring sexual how-to classes into elementary school or attempt to manipulate the values of pre-teens. We owe our children nothing less.
Lawrence Sand is a veteran teacher in Los Angeles. He is also the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network
, an organization dedicated to getting information to teachers that they typically do not get from their school districts or their unions.