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Thursday, July 14, 2005


Here are the minutes of the Politburo of the National Education Association (NEA) Central Committee Annual Party Congress held this month. Here you will find the list of some of their New Business Items on the agenda. Take a look at some of these gems. My comments are inserted after the decision of each item :

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.
ADOPTED are you kidding me?

New Business Item 82
NEA will develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the new and more sophisticated attacks on curricula, policies, and practices that support GLBT students, families, and staff members in public schools.
ADOPTED - GLBT - Gay and Lesbian Bi-Sexual Transgender. I wonder why GLBT is being attacked with sophistication? Maybe parents don't want their children exposed to the wonders of homosexual lifestyles. The operative word of this plank is curricula. How is this going to help your 3rd Grader read? How is learning about same-sex couples, sex, alternate lifestyles help your 10th Grader with preparing for the PSAT? If parents want to challenge what children are exposed to, be prepared for a fight, according to this, there is already a defense setup – sickening!

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.
ADOPTEDSome idiot commented that right wing propaganda comes out of FOX NEWS. Well, lookie here, Comrades. This is plain old-fashioned Bolshevism aimed at your kid in every grade in public school – political indoctrination and a real world working definition of propaganda. This one makes me want to throw-up!

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.
REFERRED TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEEI almost had a heart attack when I read this. If you go by that reasoning, where do these idiots shop? They can’t shop at Best Buy, Target, K-Mart, Sears, Penny’s, Federated Dept Stores, Dollar General. Has anyone ever been forced to shop at Wal Mart, let alone work there. If the NEA is so concerend about low wages, why not lobby Congress to up the pay of all Enlisted Personnel in the military. I guess the NEA folks all shop at Costco. No wonder they look like hags. Costco sucks!(Thanks Rainman for the inspiration)

New Business Item 75
The NEA will declare a designated area of the NEA/RA and related meetings and activities a fragrance free zone.
REFERRED TO THE ANNUAL MEETING REVIEW COMMITTEE AS MODIFIED – Another coronary! You can’t even bathe around these Edu-Wickans. Unbelievable!

New Business Item 73
NEA will work to form coalitions with university deans of education, parent-teacher, business, student (education student) organizations and NCATE to consult on changing curricula at America's universities, and how teachers teach teachers to reflect our changed student populations.

New Business Item 67
To the greatest extent possible, NEA will commit itself and strongly encourage its affiliates to purchasing promotional products that are manufactured in the United States.
ADOPTED AS MODIFIEDThis one I agree with. Buy American. Just don’t buy from any of the approved NEA Vendors.

New Business Item 63
The NEA, thru NEA Today and other means of communications, shall educate members about the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and its serious negative consequences for education. Moreover, the NEA shall actively participate in coalitional efforts to defeat this regressive trade agreement in line with the oppositional position taken by Education International on CAFTA due to commercialization of education and privatization of public services.
ADOPTEDI spent several years in public schools. And I can guarantee that the majority of the dopes who teach can’t spell CAFTA let alone know what it means and its serious negative consquences for education. And what business do teachers have in spending time talking about this? It’s another Bolshevist attempt to squash market competition.

New Business Item 62
NEA will provide information and encourage participation in Operation Iraqi Children. This program helps provide school supplies to Iraqi school children. This process can be accomplished through means of communication including the NEA Today, the NEA website, and other means to activate local affiliates to support this humanitarian outreach.
ADOPTEDI agree with this one as well. As long as what is sent to Iraqi schools are only supplies (no NEA approved books - I don't think 'Heather Has Two Mommies' and 'Daddy's New Roommate' would translate well in Arabic!) this is a fine initiative.

New Business Item 61
The NEA calls on President Bush and Congress to:
support our troops by creating an exit strategy to end the U.S. Military occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home.
provide adequate veterans benefits and meet the needs of our veterans for adequate jobs, education, and healthcare.
The NEA will:
support NEA members and their families called upon to serve in Iraq by identifying and providing information about resources and services to help meet their special needs, by advocating for their interests and by protecting their jobs, seniority, and benefits.
advocate the reordering of national priorities toward peace and the human needs of our people.
ADOPTED AS MODIFIEDCoronary #3 You’re GD Teachers! You’re not Benjamin Disraeli or Golda Meir. You teach finger painting and open milk cartons!

New Business Item 59
The NEA through the Health Information Network will promote research and resources on women and heart disease.
ADOPTEDWell, I hope my 10th grade math teacher does not have a heart attack, because according to this, he's SOL.

New Business Item 56
Support for Education for Prisoners and Former Prisoners. The NEA will support the education of current and former prisoners. The NEA will seek out and build alliances with labor unions representing teachers and education support professionals inside jails, prisons and youth guidance centers to advocate for increased support for education of prisoners and people coming home from prison. The NEA will also advocate for ending discrimination that former prisoners face when trying to pursue educational opportunities. The NEA will print an article in the NEA Today on these issues.
ADOPTEDHalf of this is fine – a better educated citizenry can help everyone. Then, they had to screw it up with the discrimination crap ex-cons get when getting a job. How the hell are you going to do it? What the hell does the NEA have to do with criminals? If one NEA person is connected to this, than that is one more teacher not teaching!

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.
REFFERED TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEEI thought all commies like farmers. Isn’t agrarian or agro-urban utopian communism the goal of the NEA? I thought it was. It’s certainly spelled out in this list of business items. Oh, I see, the Gallo folks hire workers who are not unionized. So, you only love your fellow man as long as he carries a union card. Morons!

New Business Item 33
The NEA will develop a strategic program to help NEA Republican members advance a pro-public education agenda within the Republican Party.
ADOPTEDHoly Crap! This is as bad as registering a gun! What if you don’t want to tell anyone how you vote? To even have this plank, you have to ask what party affiliation each and every member has - seems like a violation of privacy. So not only do you have to ‘fess up' that you’re a Republican, now you have to be told what to do at the Republican rallies. And this plank assumes that Republicans do not have a Pro-Education agenda. Ever heard of NCLB! I can’t believe I live in the US!

New Business Item 19
In accord with the NEA Legislative Program, NEA shall develop and implement a communications plan to inform members of the adverse consequences associated with any effort to either directly or indirectly divert Social Security Trust Fund surplus amounts to private accounts within Social Security.
SUBSTITUTE ADOPTEDSo the NEA will manage the protfolio of its members during and after retirement? ...adverse consequeces of what? Making a better return in the marketplace than flacid retirement accounts?

Get out of politics and get back in the classroom.

I really hope you don't send your kids to public school. In fact I hope you don't send your kids to school at all. Your outward loathing and condescension towards teachers is really sickening and would be pretty hypocritical if you actually chose to at the same time stick your kids with them all day. So which is it?
Temper, Temper...my loathing and actual outrage is thrown at the NEA leadership and its bureaucracy. The NEA does not represent all teachers; it can't; just as the Rep and Dem parties do not represent all who are registered in those parties. But of all the unions that exist, the NEA is a clear and present danger to the children of this country. The point of the post is manifold: to highlight the absurdity of the NEA’s Business Items in total, the absurdity of many Business Items in particular, and to paint an overall criticism of the obvious leftist modus op the NEA and AFT has on all of the good teachers as well as the bad. What the hell does a teachers union have to do with social security reform or national security? Not a GD thing. Get out of politics. Get out of social issues. Schools ain't your mama! The Gvt ain't your daddy! Instruct children, don't try and raise them. If the NEA was really concerned about children, which its not if you take a look at the number of business items that actually dealt with kids and not their pink, eco-green, anti-conservative agenda, then why not institute real reform like merit pay? Why not have the best and brightest get paid according to their worth, according to the number of children who pass tests, stay in school, and get good grades? It will never happen. The NEA squashes competition, rewards mediocrity and sanctions the lunacy of social issue advocacy as evidenced in this post. Stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, NEA! As for your comments; my children and buckets of my money go to parochial school where we don't have to worry about books like Heather Has Two Mommies or Daddy's New Roommate. My children will be instructed in the classics, the writings of the old masters in science, literature and philosophy, religion, buttressed by the underpinnings of Judeo-Christian morality that has worked pretty damned well for over 2000 years. We won't have to worry about the cultural relativism of Ebonics, eco-propaganda, and academic apologia to all the victims of Western hegemony, as the NEA would have us believe if you look at any recent history books in public schools. I am glad I don’t send my children to public school. And I don’t loathe teachers, I hate the NEA and anyone who thinks its doing the children of this nation any good!
A couple of things.
1) The NEA is not a government agency, it does not use our tax dollars.

2) The NEA does not set federal education policy. It lobbies the government on behalf of educators but does not allocate education funding nor set national requirements.

3) The NEA represents 2.7 Million educators, do you hate all of them?

Keep in mind that the majority of these Items are for training NEA members not students. So tell me again why they shouldn't teach their members the importance of labor unions, why the dismantling of social security is bad for people who don't have a trust fund, or why companies like Wal-Mart that erode the local tax base could be trouble for members. All of these issues directly effect the dues paying members. I agree that their are lots of problems with education in this country but you must be deliberately dense to believe half of what you wrote.

The mission statement of the NEA:
"To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all."
A couple more things because this post was particularly ridiculous. Telling Unions to 'get out of politics' is just unbelievably naive.

1) Alternatives to latex stem from latex being a severe allergen to a small number of people. A number of states have already banned it for food service workers.

2) Every Union I can find has some sort of resolution or information against Walmarts anti-labor practices.

3) Social Security and retirement is one of the major issues facing all unions and anyone who isn't a multi-millionaire these days. It directly effects their memebers and they would be remiss if they did not educate their members.

4) 1 in 2 women will die of heart attack or stroke. Women are significantly less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than men. How many of the 2.7 million members do you think are women? Does it say anything about ignoring men or did you just assume that? What was your problem with this again?

5) The issue with Republican members says nothing about mandatory admission of party affilliation. In fact it is probably completely voluntary and a way to put a stop on some Republicans efforts to completely dismantle public education in this country. But why do research when you can just make inflammatory statements.
Thank you for supporting my arguments. After reading your responses I realized that there is no need to have a union for teachers at all. Why is it necessary? If the teachers are as organized and resillient as you profess, then there is no need to have a union. Unfair labor practices and organization against bad management in the public sector is fine for pipe workers, electricians. But in the case of educators, why is it necessary to be organized at all? Again, let's focus on the leftist tilt of this union and its disregard for improving student performance: When is the last time the NEA supported a conservative presidential candidate? Why did the NEA file a lawsuit against the No Child Left Behind program? Why did the NEA consult with the DNC and Howard Dean and not the other side of the isle when it filed against the NCLB? Why doesn't the NEA want Merit Based Pay for its teachers? The bottom line for the NEA is: it wants federal dollars with no accountability for progress in raising academic performance of kids. The NEA wants more money and more control of our nations schools. And if the NEA is so bloody wonderful after all the money it gets from its union dues and all the money the fed puts into schools year after year, why do test scores fall, why are inner city kids falling behind the nation in performance metrics. 2.5 million members can't be wrong, right? Bollocks! As far as the voluntary participation in the union, read this book: Power Grab : How the National Education Association Is Betraying our Children - Greg Moo and you'll see how voluntary membership is.
I read your post twice and mine again and still have no idea how I supported your arguments. Teachers are organized and able to defend themselves specifically BECAUSE of the Union, not in spite of it. Now to answer your question one by one in the hope that this will soften your view even a little bit.

When is the last time the NEA supported a conservative presidential candidate?
I have no idea and it's irrelevant. Did you consider that the reason they don't support conservatives is that conservatives are bad for education? Conservatives traditionally provide less money for education, they have opposed tax breaks to help pay for college, they have decreased funding of public universities.
For instance the states with the 10 highest average teacher salary are all blue states. The Bottom 15 in teachers salary are all red states. Do you still wonder why teachers don't support conservatives?

Why did the NEA file a lawsuit against the No Child Left Behind program?
Seriously, 5 minutes of research could have answered this for you, after reading this let me know if you still have a problem with the suit: "The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law says the federal government must pay for the rules and regulations it is imposing on our nation's public schools. But Washington lawmakers haven't done so, creating a $27 billon shortfall that parents have had to cover with their tax money."

Why did the NEA consult with the DNC and Howard Dean and not the other side of the isle when it filed against the NCLB?
Again, this seems pretty obvious although I see no evidence that it actually happened. The Republicans are the ones who failed to deliver on their promises and were then sued, not the DNC and Howard Dean.

Why doesn't the NEA want Merit Based Pay for its teachers? This is an area where I actually see a problem and a need for change. The NEA opposes merit pay and tenure because Merit Pay encourages favoritism and exacerbates district politics that are already problematic. However I would agree that change is needed here and that the NEA is in the way of such changes.

Gregory Moo's book makes some very valid criticisms of the NEA however my recollection is that he failed to provide any viable alternatives. Turning Schools into private corporations has been a colossal failure and School administrators (Like Mr. Moo) have been shown to take advantage in many situations where teachers lacked Union support.

So I'd say you have a legitmate grip about merit pay and teacher tenure but have provided no reasonable, fair alternative. Did you really need a whole post of bitching and bile to get to that?
You want alternatives. How about this: Disband the NEA and get back to the job of teaching. Stop playing politics! Stop suing for more money, more control. Inject accountability into teacher/school performance and reward those districts that improve the socres of students in state and national tests. Teachers don't have any business worrying about national security, ss reform, eco-concerns, NAFTA, CAFTA, medical reform, changing the minds of republican union members, prisoner reform, college curricula, Ebonics, politically correct historical revisionism, creating age appropriate instruction about the wonders of unions, boycotting the largest employer in the US or any other non-union company. The real mission of the NEA should read, 'We exist to help children read, write and learn math. We do not exist to raise your children or act as a substitute for your family. We don't care about anything except getting your child prepared for the next grade where he or she will have more demanding academic tasks.' The NEA is a left wing organization bent on squashing any legislation or common sense approaches to educational reform that promotes accountability in teaching and student success. My God, shouldn't we as a nation and you if you're a parent demand that the best person possible is standing in front your child eight hours a day? The NEA dose not demand that of its union members and it seems it does not care about the best and the brightest as long as it can get more money from its members and advance its leftist agenda. It's a shame!
Unfortunately, neither the liberals nor the conservatives have it right on teaching. The libs always wail for more money. The conservatives always blame the teachers.

I teach, in a Bronx HS, am a conservative and am not a big fan of the union, but we do need it to enforce basic contractual rights and provide some protection against arbitrary, political and capricious principals.

We did not get to vote whether or not to be part of the NEA. I think we voted on the issue once, and turned it down. Then suddenly, we were part of it without having voted a second time whether or not to join.

Here is the problem: lazy, welfare-dependent mentality kids and parents. Good schools require real students, kids who actually study, do homework, go over their notes at home. They don't. Most kids in our supposedly good school have NEVER read a book, never do homework, and come to school to gossip all day every day about fighting and sex. Most don't even take part in extra-curriculars.

We are told by admins that is is our fault (a lie) if they don't pass and teachers are forced to pass kids who don't deserve it. We are told that somehow we have to get them through state tests, but yet must celebrate their GLTB-ness, worship their blacknees or hispanicness and make it fun.

For kids who never read and don't write because they have no vocabulary except swear words (since they never read) and therefore can't write, it isn't fun to sit down and have to think and read and write and do math.

We have a great staff, but admins who have no clue about teaching, except what they read in the latest fad articles, since they have never taught. No one would tell an engineer how to build a bridge if they had no background, not a doctor or newwriter to do his job. But EVERYONE, including the illiterate and low IQ assumes that they know how to teach---though they could never do it. But they know they we must be wrong and how we should teach.

Being a student is a full time job--that's why parents get a tax exemption for them. They must actually study, read the text, write, review, go over notes and examples and PRACTICE, at home as well as in school to get to be good at it. Everyone who succeeds in anything has to abide by these principles. Dancers take several hours of class a day every day, for years, even after completing their training, to be able to dance for an hour or two a night.

But parents don't want to argue with their kids about studying, like the denizens of welfare, it is much easier to blame someone else for your lack of success. "I can't find a job," wails someone who applied at one place and then sat home for a month, when finding a job requires 8 hours a day of effort for many days. "It's the teacher's fault' he's racist; he's stupid; he hasn't gotten enough degress and coughed up enough money to the state;' he hasn't given up enough of his life and become a human sacrifice so I don't have to work..."

Now personally, I think public school systems are too large to be manageable and that virtually no one should be a principal who doesn't have at least 5-10 years' experience in a classroom. MOst administrators get out of the classroom because they can't handle it, but somehow think they know better than everyone else. That is the liberal ego.

Conservatives think it is all the unions fault and that we, not the students should work harder. The bottom line is that the kids don't work hard enough, or, in many cases, at all. Certain groups do not value education at all. As someone said, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Parents should be required to pay when their kids fail or disrupt a class, and they should have to purchase the books (for which they could get a refund later if they are returned in good condition) since the kids tend to trash the books and lose them. At best, they toss them under the bed when they get home and never look at them until the end of the term. (See, "I don't do homework." earlier.)

I had excellent teachers in high school for the most part, but they would be considered bad teachers today, because they lectured, expected us to read. My junior year English teacher told us the first day, "By the time you're a junior in high school, you ought to know how to write. If you make three technical errors in your paper, it fails." He meant it---when he hit the third one, he wrote a 64 on the paper and stopped reading. If I did that today, I would be charged with child abuse. Our state English exams are graded "holistically," which essentially means spelling and grammar do not count. As long as we can figure out some basic idea that sort of answers the question, the answer gets credit.

There are conservative teachers, and there would be many more, or at least fewer teachers antagonistic to conservatives if the cons put the responsiblity for learning where it belongs--on the student!
Conservatives make it more difficult for conservative teachers to win other teachers because they mindly blame the teachers and the unions. In many schools, teachers don't have ANY say in the curriculum--it is all set up by principals or local or state boards of ed, and is often politically correct. In NYC, most kids have no idea who Ronald Reagan is and get or want to see (not necessarily read) books about black people, when they need to get out of their self-absorbed ghetto mentality and learn that all people face common challenges and emotions.

When conservative friends babble the same unthinking badmouthing of teachers, they add, "Oh, I didn't mean you." Yes, you did because you don't understand what is going on. The majority of people in this country can't and wouldnt do my job---in fact the parents are often not doing their job to teach their kids how to behave and how to meet their responsibilities to practice, review, and study. It's the same as saying all black people are stupid and then saying to the black people there, "Except you."

The leftists wanted federal government intervention and now whine that they have it. NCLB was written by Ted Kennedy, not by a conservative, but they forget that. It does cause problems, as tests alone don't prove what a kid knows and doesn't know. It has forced schools to put too much emphasis on the non-academically inclicned kids and neglect the kids who would do better if they were not dragged down by their peers. Millions is spent to drag absentees into school. Fine the parents. Fine the parents if the kid consistently disrupts the class. And it has nothing to do with money. These kids that are suppposedly "poor" get all kinds of handouts,free breakfast, lunch, transportation--and they spend more on snacks before they get to school than I had as a week's allowance. They can't afford breakfast, but they can get $50 nail jobs, $200 sneakers, Sean John clothes, jewelry and haircuts. Most of my friends got their nails done for the first time when they went to the prom, or got married, or had been working a full time job for a while. Poverty is not the cause of low achievement---attitude is. Consider Justice Thomas--he didn't even have shoes until he was 8 years old. Many of my students are too lazy to take a pen or pencil out of their bookbag, can't "remember" to take handouts we spent hours developing, typing, printing and copying home to work on. They leave them behind, make paper airplanes or throw them on the floor. But somehow, it is MY fault they don't know their math and can't pass a state exam.

They think they come to school to chat with their friends. Not every kid is like that, but in the Bronx, except for the specialized high schools which require an admission test, most are. Most. Let me repeat again---most. There is NO work ethic, no sense of personal responsiblity. After a while, the good kids start to do less and less as well. If I could post a video of what goes on in some classes and halls, no one would fund public schools.

But the school gets rated by and gets $$$ for the number of bodies in the room, regardless of whether they destroy everyone else's education.

I thought my teachers were dumb when I was in high school--that is the arrogance of teenagers. But we never acted on that. We all did our work, came to class PREPARED, i.e. having read the assignments and being ready to discuss them. No one went to summer school or tutoring that we know of. Virtually everyone in my track has at least one degree, most have at least a Master's.

There was no such thing as remedial classes in college. Now, all colleges have them, and in the CUNY system, most "students" spend their first two years in remedial classes. They might have enough "prep" to squeak through on a state exam (many of which have been dumbed down), but they don't really understand any of it, or see any of it in context. And now we are forced to focus so much on test prep and makng the school's image look good with high "pass" rates (when I personally would fail almost all of them), that we cannot really develop the context and background. That would require that students do quite a bit of reading and study at home.

Here, most teachers give the kids time to do their "homework," in class, or have "make up days" every other week---or it would not be done and they would have to fail too many kids.

I used to work in a school where I was free to fail the kids who deserved to fail. That is long gone in NYC--it is all about looking good, having high "pass" rates. Since the city keeps hiring teachers from all over the world, they can fire teachers month after month, blaming them for the kids' lack of work. So after 10 period days and weekend tutoring and break tutoring and summer school after summer school, when they finally squeak through, yet know nohting, a lot of good teachers have been driven from the field and the kids still know nothing, because they did not work to make it their own.

But you guys know it all. When I retire, I am going to teach in a parochial school, where the kids will behave, and work, and I will be appreciated. Unforunately, I cannot live now on what they pay.
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