Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
We have absolutely no affiliation with the National Education Association.
"During this year’s Read Across America and National Reading Month, our theme is “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers …”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
DIVERSITY SHOULD BE CELEBRATED, RIGHT??
March is National Reading Month.
According to the National Education Association, this year’s focus is on “diverse” readers.
That sounds nice, doesn’t it?
So very inclusive, don’t you think?
After all, who could possibly argue that diversity is a bad thing?
Don’t we like a choice when we go out to dinner? Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Japanese …
I mean, wouldn’t you get tired of going out to eat if all you could get at a restaurant was a hamburger and fries?
And how about when it comes to people? How boring would it be if everyone thought the same, dressed the same, liked the same kind of music, etc.
THE NEA’S HYPER-FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
But has the National Education Association taken the idea of diversity too far?
Take the March 1, 2018 article from the NEA website entitled: “A Celebration of Diverse Books and Readers.”
Apparently (at least according to that title), not only should readers be diverse but so should books.
But why stop there?
At the NEA auditorium in Washington DC last week, Garcia spoke to students who came from “diverse schools across D.C.’s Maryland suburbs.”
There is that word diverse again. So now readers, books and schools are diverse.
But wait, there’s more!
In the third paragraph of this same article, the word diverse is actually used 6 times …
That’s right: Six times – in ONE paragraph!
In addition to diverse readers and books, we have diverse authors (mentioned 2x), characters (1x) and formats (1x).
Here is a sample:
“The books are not only written by diverse authors about diverse characters but they are written in diverse formats …”
What is with the hyper-focus on diversity????
THE NEA AND DIVERSITY GO WAY BACK
Hyper-focus is the exactly correct word to describe the NEA’s position on diversity. Do a quick search on its website and you get probably 100 articles dealing with this topic.
Has a diversity toolkit
Has a diversity calendar
Recommends diversity in teaching
Celebrates a multicultural diversity day
Has leadership diversity
You get the idea - the list could go on and on.
CONCLUSION – Good (not diverse) books are worth reading.
Back to books …
Garcia states that she wants to celebrate reading for an entire month …
“… because there are so many good books to read! Books about different cultures, races, languages, and traditions.”
Yes, Ms. Garcia, you are correct. There are thousands of good books out there that are well-worth reading. But can you please let the children read them because they want to?
Do you have to focus on the ones that highlight “different cultures, races, languages and traditions?”
The NEA praises Gene Luen Yang who challenges kids to “read without walls”
“Read a book about a character that doesn’t look like you”
Listen, if a kid wants to read about a different culture, race, language or tradition, more power to him.
But can we just let the kids pick their own books and not impose our own ideological beliefs on them by helping them in the selection?
As a parent, I can certainly understand how I have the right to suggest books that are appropriate for my children to read. But what gives the NEA or the school district this right?
It’s bad enough that the state is imposing a curriculum upon our children - now it wants to recommend leisure reading?
Here is what Garcia should have said:
“Children, March is National Reading Month. Find a good book and read it!”
Period. End of sentence.