Today, Michele Malkin's blog highlights a few of the recently adopted positions of the National Education Association, the less-than-voluntary union of American teachers. While she highlights a few with which I disagree: a call for troop withdrawal from Iraq (anti-nat'l security and illogical, too), defeat of CAFTA (anti-free trade, hate that), and need for debt cancellation for foreign nations (do I need to repeat how destructive this is?), my largest beef is that none of this has anything to do with educating American children.
I admit disliking the fact that teachers' union memberships are compulsory whether or not teachers agree with the organization and its practices. I dislike that union reps routinely audit classrooms and parking lots after school to take disciplinary measures against teachers willing to give a scintilla more effort toward their students than the union contract guarantees. I really, really dislike that while facilities are crumbling and supply cabinets are empty and violence by students increases and textbooks are in short supply and academic competency diminishes and the most talented educators burn out in discouragement at the complacency and corruption of bureaucracies above them, the NEA has adequate time and resources to pursue the following , all adopted or deemed deserving of further discussion.
- New Business Item 2 (Revised)
NEA affirms and supports the decision of the Executive Committee to participate in the national Wal-Mart Consumer Education Campaign initiated by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Further, NEA strongly encourages state and local affiliates and individual NEA members to participate in this campaign.
- New Business Item 78
NEA will urge its members that they "do not shop" at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club due to Wal-Mart's anti-union, low-wage, low-benefit policies that have left its employees in need of hundreds of million of dollars in public aid for various health care and social safety net programs. Just because many teachers have to use their own time and dip into their small checks to subsidize class materials doesn't mean they should be allowed to shop for bargains.
- New Business Item 5
NEA Human and Civil Rights Department will begin in 2005-2006 to implement programs and activities, as a part of NBI 13, of 2004, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic merger of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Teachers Association (ATA), which occurred in 1966. We'll use your money to pay for a party celebrating our own existence.Yay!
- New Business Item 8
The NEA President, Reg Weaver, will direct the HIN to write an article on health problems from exposure to fragrance chemicals in NEA Today.This will include a questionnaire for membership using a variety of methods such as an online NEA web site posting, form in the article and questionnaires available at the 06 RA Hall of Health. The results will be published in NEA as well as posted on the NEA Web site, including a list of products identified by members as triggering health reactions.The questionnaire results will be posted to the NEA Web site.
- New Business Item 75
The NEA will declare a designated area of the NEA/RA and related meetings and activities a fragrance free zone. Non-scientific questionnaires on fragrance chemicals? Fragrance-free zones? How they'll enforce that, I'd love to know. I sure hope it costs a lot and takes a long time. They must have extra resources now that American education's fixed and the largest issues of teachers' working conditions are all peachy.
- New Business Item 30
NEA will undertake a two-tiered campaign to educate the public about the alternative governance arrangements required of schools in year 4 of program improvement under the so-called No Child Left Behind Act and promote option (V) restructuring as the most reasonable under the circumstances. Specifically... I just thought it was interesting in a Freudian way that they say it's the "so-called" No Child Left Behind Act. You may disagree about its effectiveness, but I didn't think the name of the thing was in question.
- New Business Item 32
Move that NEA, utilizing existing policy, study the feasibility of initiating a boycott of Gallo wine. - New Business Item 47
The NEA will inform members about reasons for the boycott of Gallo wines called by the United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO.The NEA will ensure that Gallo wines are not served at any function of the Association. If anyone deserves a drink after work, it's educators, and they should have whatever they'd like. This targeting of companies because of their stand on the overarching union concept or an affiliated union's gripes is not only bad policy but, might I mention, UNRELATED to EDUCATING AMERICAN CHILDREN. The NEA wants members to further diminish their personal freedom of choice to protect the survival interests of an entity that they had no option to avoid joining.
- New Business Item 38
NEA Representative Assembly directs President Weaver to express NEA's opposition to the annual observance of "Take Your Child to Work Day" during the traditional school year to the appropriate organization(s). We request this worthwhile day be observed during a non-attendance day for students (or one with less impact on student learning). It's hard for me to believe one "field trip" has more impact on student learning than the shortened class periods, school days, and academic years which we're only beginning to see remedied on school-by-school, district-by-district bases, and which the NEA opposes.
- New Business Item 45
I move that NEA investigate the establishment of an affordable/workforce housing programs for members. Perhaps supporting merit pay and attacking the systemic fiscal corruption in the union and municipalities that skim potential salary resources before they reach the personnel budgets would help.
The NEA deplores the inappropriate use of words such as "retarded" and "gay." The usage of slurs like this is demeaning in nature and conveys a negative stereotype. Whenever derogatory and abusive language is used in the public limelight the NEA, state and local affiliates should regularly and aggressively respond. The first sentence just made me laugh, inappropriately, I admit.
- New Business Item 59
The NEA through the Health Information Network will promote research and resources on women and heart disease by means of articles in the NEA Today, using the NEA website,
an exhibit booth at the annual Representative Assembly, This Active Life Again, they're doing so great with education, let's move onto science and medicine. NOOOO!
- New Business Item 60
NEA-HIN will coordinate resources and provide information through existing NEA publications and the NEA website to members regarding diseases that impact the learning environment as a result of the emotional functioning of students diseases and health conditions not widely publicized, such as Alopecia Areata, Lupus, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, any illness or disease that may cause temporary or permanent hairloss or baldness, etc. I do pity the hairless, but the question is whether the union should divert teachers' dues to deal with this niche issue among all other items needing attention?
- New Business Item 81
The NEA shall research the possibility of offering, as part of the existing training program, either regional or national levels of training that would support the significant history of labor unions. The training will have a focus that emphasizes delivery of age appropriate curriculum to students. From the cradle, you will be taught to love your overlords.
- New Business Item 88
NEA will ask the NEA Health Information Network to provide information to members regarding "acceptable" mercury levels set by the past administration as compared to the higher levels recently adopted by the present administration, and to educate members about the adverse impact of mercury exposure on student learning. Additionally, NEA will monitor the lawsuit Environmental Defense v. EPA, which challenges the EPA decision to increase mercury emission levels. NEA also will explore the feasibility of filing an amicus brief if and when the case is appealed. Instead of grappling with health and science issues from their inexpert position, perhaps they might address member concerns about deficient science curricula as compared to the rest of the world and the nationwide difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified science educators.
- New Business Item 91
In the interest of member health and safety at NEA sponsored events; NEA will explore alternatives to using LATEX (natural rubber) products (such as latex balloons and gloves) during NEA sponsored events. Another red-hot topic.
There's much more, like how much they DESPISE the idea of Social Security Reform even though it would allow working-class people like teachers (I don't know if they die younger from stress, but I wouldn't be surprised) to pass a legacy onto their families instead of forfeiting a challenging career's worth of contributions into the big black gov't chasm. Of course, the hierarchy of the NEA is just such an abyss. And we can't even see what proposals they're rejecting. Is it all wacky stuff, or were they measures to address the real problems? Outsiders can't tell from the website.
May the NEA one day be held accountable for its lousy stewardship of the dues and interests of its hard-working members and for its disservice to the children whose education it claims to support.