Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
NEA - LOOKING OUT FOR ALL STUDENTS?
I visit the NEA website pretty much every day. One thing I can say for sure is that this organization is quick to let its members know about the plight of the downtrodden – those who are getting a bad rap in modern society. Just browse through the latest articles on the site and this becomes very clear. You will find articles supporting:
Seems like everyone is covered here.
NEA: WELL, ALMOST ALL STUDENTS...
But what about the lowly, forgotten “cognitively privileged" student?
For any “cognitively challenged” people out there, I am talking about the smart kids, the intelligent kids, kids that can process information more quickly and efficiently than their peers. These are the students that any honest teacher who you talk to will be able to identify within the first two weeks of school (at the end of September at the latest).
What has the NEA done for them lately?
I know, I know, Gardner says that everyone has an “intelligence” of some sort or other. All teachers know this. So really there aren't any kids that are smarter than others.
And no one actually wins in sports so everyone deserves a participation trophy ...
HETEROGENEOUS VS. HOMOGENEOUS GROUPING
Added 11/26/17: My reference to light bulbs in the following paragraph offended several readers. I use that analogy because often teachers speak about the "bright" students - a term which I find annoying personally. It's politically incorrect for teachers to use the term intelligent when they are talking about the smart kids. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there ARE smart kids in your classroom - kids of higher intelligence. I not only acknowledge this, I celebrate this.
Finally, if you are offended by the use of the light bulb analogy, just remember that behind closed doors, teachers are always talking about the kids. Be honest, we all complain about them when not in the classroom. Teachers at my school talk about kids with "nothing going on up there" and contrast them with the intelligent ones. My suggestion is try not to be so sensitive about my "politically incorrect" analogy. Have a sense of humor. Can't you see a Saturday Night Live skit about teachers and dim bulb students? I sure can and we would all laugh at it. Political correctness is way to prevalent in our society today.
I teach in a middle school where in 6th and 7th grades the kids are all lumped together in my classroom in what are called heterogeneous groups. This means I get a mixture of kids from the lowest ability dim 1-watt Christmas light bulb types to the highest ability bright 100-watt bulbs. Of course, there is also a healthy mix of 40, 60 and 75-watt bulbs in the classroom to round things out.
At least in 8th grade the district I teach in allows for an honors class made up mostly of 75-watt and up type students. Buy why not group the students by intelligence and ability in 6th and 7th also? Why not implement homogeneous grouping in all grade levels?
THE NEA VIEW – “HOMOPHOBIC”
The NEA states its position quite clearly in its Research Spotlight on academic Ability Grouping:
“The National Education Association supports the elimination of such groupings.”
As to why the NEA doesn’t support homogeneous grouping, it all comes down to “economic status, ethnicity, race … [and] … gender”
The NEA fears that “poor and minority students” will be put into the “low tracks where they receive a lower quality of instruction than other groups.”
So that’s it – a concern about poor people “of color.”
Wait a minute, hold on there…
Is the NEA really suggesting that poor people “of color” are intellectually inferior to better-off people “without color?”
Talk about prejudice.
So I guess that the NEA is not only “homophobic,” it’s also racist.