Wednesday, September 05, 2007

On The NEA

In terms of influence over public policy and the minds of Americans, the National Education Association is probably the most powerful union in existence today. They recently had their annual meeting and Accuracy in Media reported on it:

The 2007 NEA Convention, held June 30 through July 5 in Philadelphia, PA, highlighted many social and political considerations ranging from gay rights to global warming to amnesty, but opposed school choice or tax credits for home-schooling parents. (emphasis theirs)

Unsurprisingly, the NEA continues to oppose any efforts to transfer the strings of the money purse away from their hot little hands:

"Resolutions A-24 and A-33 oppose school vouchers and parental option plans, and A-15 asserts carte-blanche that "The Association opposes any federal legislation, laws, or regulations that provide funds, goods, or services to sectarian schools." Resolution B-75 seeks to perpetuate the double charge home-schooling families pay for their education. . . " (emphasis mine)

Now, really, so do I. I oppose any federal legislation regarding and funding for the education of children in this country, and that includes my own. However, I don't think the NEA is going to invite me out for drinks to discuss this issue any time soon. They fully support legislation AND funding--as long as it fills their own bank accounts:

The NEA doesn't want federal funding diverted away from its students, but it does want the government to continue to fund teachers, regardless of their performance. Resolution B-64 supports standardized tests, except when "used as the criterion for the reduction or withholding of any educational funding." Also, competency testing "must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers." (emphasis mine)

So what, if any, standards do they use to evaluate teacher competency? What is the point of competency testing if it is not to be used as an employment and advancement tool? What planet are these people on?

NEA resolution F-2 also opposes applying market-based criteria to teacher salaries because it might reflect "the race and sex bias in our society." (emphasis mine)

To answer my own question above: Mars. So market-based criteria reflect the biases in our society, eh? Is that how it works? I doubt anyone in the NEA has even as much as opened an economics book. I could draw out the little graph of what happens to market when a government-protected monopoly exists and not one of them would recognize that they are that monopoly. I bet I'd get compliments for coloring in the lines though, at least until it dawns on someone that the picture I just made does not protect teacher's jobs or support channeling government funding for education directly into their checking accounts and then I'd get an F on the assignment. Only they'd write the F in purple ink, not red, so my self-esteem doesn't get damaged.

And speaking of incentives (well, I was in a peripheral kind of manner), here is an example of why "market-based criteria" are absolutely necessary in the "education" "market":

"Most strikingly, the NEA does not want federal tax dollars spent on public schools to be recycled for private educational institutions—even when the public schools no longer want these resources. Apparently, once money is spent on public education, it must be used for this purpose or thrown away."

Neat, huh? Nice that they are demanding a "use it or lose it" stance on the money taken from taxpayers. Sounds like my kids: it's mine mine MINE! Or, to quote from one of my favorite They Might Be Giants songs: "I don't want the world; I just want your half."

I'm sure I've written nothing new to most of my readers. I knew all about the NEA and their positions on most things and nothing has changed substantially that I can find. I did try to find their new 2007-08 resolutions on their website, but I guess they aren't posted yet. So here's a link to the 2006-07 handbook. Click the "Resolutions" for 132 pages of fun, fun, fun!

Like I said, nothing new, but I still think it's worth reminding myself what the NEA is all about. They are much less interested in educating children than they are in keeping themselves employed. Unfortunately, the general public doesn't realize this, because if they did, they'd realize that the NEA is dependent upon parents providing them with kids to sit in their schools so that they can collect their money.

Children can and have been educated without teachers' unions, attendance policies, and dress codes. WE don't need them; it's the other way around. If more people realized that, grew disgusted with how they and their children are being treated, they'd shrug. They'd take back the responsibility for their children's educations and either do it themselves or shop around to find the best fit for their kids. The NEA would be left penniless and whining, calling for more tax-hikes and legislation outlawing homeschooling and private schools and Sylvan Learning Centers. Teachers would have to compete for jobs in a marketplace that rewards excellence and results. Any teachers' associations then in existence would focus less on global warming and more on methods and techniques for helping children understand the material they are being taught. Some teachers might even ask parents for advice, imagine!

I only regret that I have but two children to remove from government education. (Okay, all done with the dramatic flair--but I just couldn't resist!)

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