Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
We have absolutely no affiliation with the National Education Association.
"Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States of America, is racist.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Lily’s Blackboard, January 12, 2018
“Did you know it's #NoNameCallingWeek?”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, @Lily_NEA, January 16, 2018
THESIS OF BLOG POST – Please stay out of politics.
After calling Donald Trump a racist, Ms. Garcia goes on to say:
“I have no doubt that I will hear from many educators who disagree."
She is correct when she says that some educators might not agree with her.
The Anti-NEA Blog certainly does not.
But it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump’s position on immigration or whether or not he is a racist.
We object to her comments because we strongly feel that the NEA needs to stay out of politics – it’s a simple as that.
Is President Trump a racist?
Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t – we can’t get into his head to figure this one out. But it is certainly not the job of the head of the NEA to determine that issue. Garcia is way out of bounds here.
Ms. Garcia needs to stop inserting her personal views into political issues and stick with helping out her constituents – the teachers.
If NEA members want to talk politics, then they can go to a political website of their choice like FOX News, CNN, ABC, MSNBC or wherever.
When stating a position on an issue, a true leader should use measured terms and reason in order to make a point.
By this yardstick, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is no leader.
Instead of calmly making known her disagreement with President Trump, she chooses to employ vitriol and ad hominem attacks.
Here is a selection of quotes directed at Trump from her latest post on Lily’s Blackboard:
These are not carefully reasoned arguments. They are sardonic opinions which reveal Garcia’s personal hatred for President Trump.
Plus they are hypocritical when you realize that on January 16, 2018, Eskelsen tweeted out her support for an end to name calling:
To make matters worse, Garcia displays quite a bit of selective outrage.
This makes her doubly a hypocrite.
When President Obama led bombing campaigns against Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, his decisions led to the death, dismemberment and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in those countries.
Did Garcia call Obama a murderer?
When Muammar Gaddafi was brutally sodomized with a bayonet and eventually killed, Hillary Rodham Clinton cackled with joy.
“We came, we saw, he died.”
Did Garcia criticize her for this callous display of psychotic behavior?
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia categorized her latest Lily’s Blackboard post as “I just had to say this.”
Sorry, Lily. You didn’t have to say this. You could have kept your personal opinions to yourself.
“SHUT UP AND SING”
To quote Laura Ingraham:
“Shut up and sing.”
When we go to a concert we don't want the artist lecturing us about politics. We are there to hear the music and be entertained.
Likewise, when we go to the NEA website we are looking for teacher related topics. We are not there to receive a lecture about politics and racism.
CONCLUSION – We are trying to save the union, not destroy it.
Some readers have claimed that our blog is trying to destroy the union. Actually, it’s doing just the opposite.
We are trying to save our union by redirecting it away from the radical positions taken by its administration.
We want the union to return to its proper foundation - helping teachers.
The NEA needs to direct its time, energy and money towards issues that are important to all teachers (working conditions, salaries, benefits, etc.).
Real teacher issues are nonpartisan.
“Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States of America, is racist.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia (January 12, 2018), in response to President Trump’s comments about immigration
THESIS OF BLOG POST
We have several points of contention with the latest Lily’s Blackboard article.
However, for the purpose of this blog post, we will restrict our comments to just one misconception that we noticed.
When NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia invokes Martin Luther King to criticize President Trump’s position on immigration, it appears that she is unaware that King was not really a big proponent of open borders at all.
TRUMP’S “RACIST” COMMENT ON IMMIGRATION
As the opening quote makes clear, the NEA President doesn’t mince words.
According to Garcia, Trump is a racist because he would rather have immigrants from Norway than from Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.
Why does this make Trump a racist?
Read the words of Ms. Garcia for the answer to this question:
"Now, let’s see. What are some of the key differences between Norway and the countries on the president’s list? Let us begin with the obvious one: Norway is overwhelmingly white. The countries Trump denigrated are majority black and brown.”
Although we don’t necessarily come to the same conclusion as the NEA President, her reasoning does make sense to a certain degree.
But how does Martin Luther King come into all of this?
THE NEA PRESIDENT INVOKES MARTIN LUTHER KING
Below are two quotes from Lily’s Blackboard which reference Martin Luther King.
MLK Invocation #1:
“It’s not lost on me that on Monday, January 15, we celebrate the holiday in honor of Dr. King, a courageous leader who honored America’s values by urging us to live up to them. When someone laments that we have too many immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador and not enough from Norway, there’s only one word for it [racist].”
MLK Invocation #2
“It is clear that we must all speak out, using whatever megaphones and forums we can. Those of us who vehemently disagree with the president cannot be quiet about it. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Here is our interpretation of Garcia’s position:
“I will invoke Martin Luther King to support my contention that the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, is racist and evil. I ask you to consider the following:
THE PROBLEM WITH GARCIA’S INVOCATION OF KING
Garcia is attempting to bolster her position (that Trump is a racist) by infusing it with the aura of the slain civil rights hero. After all, successfully invoking Martin Luther King to support one’s point of view tends to give it gravitas.
The problem is that Martin Luther King didn’t necessarily have a view on immigration consistent with Garcia’s portrayal of it.
As Ian Smith explains in his National Review article (January 14, 2018), we don’t really know what King’s position on immigration would be because he never explicitly talked much about it in any of his writings or speeches. This is not surprising since …
“… our current mass immigration system began to be implemented only in 1968, the year he [King] died.”
But if we can’t quote King directly, is there any possibly way to get a handle on how he would have responded to the current immigration question?
Smith thinks that there is:
“… according to King’s former lawyer and close adviser Clarence B. Jones … it’s clear what King’s response would have been.”
It turns out that Martin Luther King was a supporter of Cesar Chavez, “one of the earliest campaigners against open borders.”
So if King supported an individual who was against open borders (i.e. immigration), it is reasonable to believe that he may have felt the same way.
In fact, Jones says that King would certainly have been against any policy which allowed …
“... countless numbers of illegal immigrants to flood across and either take or undermine jobs done by Americans, especially brown and black Americans.’”
We totally understand why NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia chose to wrap her opinions within the mantle of Martin Luther King. Unfortunately, at least according to King’s close adviser Clarence Jones, the mantle probably doesn’t’ quite fit.
And one final point.
Jones also says that King would have rejected any support for “groups such as La Raza.”
Why bring this up?
Because the NEA is a supporter of this organization and has worked with them on many occasions (do a search on the NEA website using La Raza as a search term and see how many articles you find).
So Ms. Garcia, when you call President Trump a racist because of his opinions on immigration, you might not want to quote Martin Luther King to back up your argument.
It kind of makes you look a little silly.
“Teachers don’t go into their field to get rich. But they have reasonable expectations of earning a middle class living, being able to own a home some day and raise a family.”
Lawrence Mishel, President, Economic Policy Institute
THESIS OF BLOG POST – There is something more going on here.
The NEA correctly identifies a gap in pay between teachers and other workers. But the reason that teachers have fallen behind is much more complex than the NEA realizes. Stronger unions, collective bargaining and more funding for public education will only go so far towards solving the problem. To understand the real reason behind the erosion of teacher pay, you actually have to go back to 1913. This was the year that the Federal Reserve Act was passed and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.
THE NEA’S CASE – Accurate but it’s only part of the story …
I started thinking about this pay gap issue after I read an article by Robert Rosales on the NEA Today website called “Moonlighting” (January 2, 2018).
He makes an excellent case that teachers are not getting paid nearly enough to live a typical middle class existence.
“Nationwide, many public school teachers … work nights and weekends to supplement the income they receive from teaching … They are simply trying to keep their financial boats afloat.”
Rosales cites two studies which support his point about low teacher pay.
I didn’t read the details of these studies but I do accept them as most likely true based on my own research into the pay gap issue (my research appears below).
But the problem with Rosales’ article is that it only explains part of the story.
For instance, he quotes Sylvia Allegretto (a labor economist at the University of California, Berkley) who blames the gap on the
“… weakening of teachers’ unions, pervasive anti-government sentiment, defunding of public education and the spread of charter and private schools …”
Unfortunately, these words are just classic “NEA-speak” for what ails public schools today. They simply do not get to the heart of the issue.
On the other hand, Lawrence Mishel (president of the Economic Policy Institute) comes closer to the truth when he recognizes that:
“Collective bargaining … [is] not enough. Even unionized teachers have seen their pay erode relative to other workers.”
By realizing that unions are “not enough” to solve the pay gap issue, he is acknowledging that there is something else going on here.
WHERE THE NEA IS CORRECT: US Teacher Salary vs. Average US Wage
Below you will find my calculation which supports the NEA’s contention that teachers have fallen behind in their pay.
As you will notice, I am only considering data from the years 1971 to 2015.
The importance of the year 1971 will be explained later. As for why I stopped at 2015, more current figures were not available for all of the indicators I report about in the Research section of this blog post. Also, I don’t believe that gathering data for 2016 & 2017 would have resulted in any significant difference in my eventual conclusion.
So here is the data on teacher salary and average wages:
Average Public Teacher Salary (1970-1971 school year) - $9,268
Average Public Teacher Salary (2014-2015 school year) - $57,379
Percentage Increase in Average Public Teacher Salary (1971 – 2015): 619%
Now compare this increase (619%) to the average increase of general worker wages in the United States during that same time period.
Average Wage (1971) - $6,497.08
Average Wage (2015) - $48,098.63
Percentage Increase in Average US Wage (1971 – 2015): 740%
Conclusion: Obviously the NEA is correct. According to my calculation, the average US wage from 1971 - 2015 was 121% higher than the average teacher salary.
WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON HERE Pt. 1 – The Federal Reserve creates money.
Any possible connection between the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 and today’s teacher pay gap may, at first blush, appear ludicrous. How could some 100-year-old piece of legislation possibly affect teachers in the present day?
The detailed figures that appear in the Research section below should make this connection clear. But before introducing them, you need to understand some things about the Federal Reserve and what it does. I am going to be simplifying to a certain degree when I talk about the Federal Reseve, but this does not have any impact on the accuracy of my explanation. If you actually want details about how the Federal Reserve operates, you can find a great video at the Peak Prosperity website.
For the purposes of this post, I am content to just supply the basics.
So here are the basics:
The Federal Reserve has the ability to create money (dollars). This means that it is responsible for the total supply of dollars that currently exists. I am referring to all the money in your wallet, in your bank account, in the cash registers of the stores, etc. All of the money is out there because the Federal Reserve has created it and put it out there for our use.
WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON HERE Pt. 2 – The Federal Reserve causes inflation
But if the Federal Reserve can just create money, why not just create it in infinite amounts, give it to all US citizens and make everyone rich?
Because it runs into a problem if it really attempts this. You see, the more dollars it creates, the less each dollar is worth.
This is basic economics.
For example, if the total supply of money is $1,000,000 (and this is equal to the total value of things out there to buy with those dollars) and the Federal Reserve doubles this money supply to $2,000,000 (and there is no increase in the total value of things out there to buy), then the value of each dollar has actually been cut in half.
Because we have the same exact things to buy but we have twice as much money out there to buy them with. This means that the price of all of that stuff to buy will double (which is the same thing as value of dollar cut in half).
That is why the Federal Reserve cannot print infinite amounts of dollars. The more it prints, the less each dollar is worth.
You experience this declining value of the dollar as inflation. It is not that prices are going up at the grocery store – although that is how it appears at first. In reality, it is the value of the dollar that is going down. When the value of the dollar goes down, you have to use more dollars to buy the same thing. .
So it appears to you that the price went up.
1971 – THE EROSION OF TEACHER SALARIES BEGINS
I indicated earlier that 1971 was significant. The reason is that on August 15 of that year, President Richard Nixon “closed the gold window.” This meant that, going forward, no one would be allowed to turn in paper dollars to get gold. Of course, US citizens had not been able to do this for decades but now it also applied to foreign governments as well.
Starting on August 15, 1971, paper dollars were just that – paper and nothing more.
I can hear so many of you saying:
“So what? When I go to the store, my paper dollars are accepted. A dollar is a dollar. Why do I care if I can’t get gold for it? Why would anyone want a lump of gold? You can’t buy a cup of coffee with a lump of gold. You can’t buy groceries with a lump of gold. What is the use of a lump of yellow metal?”
Remember what was said earlier about inflation?
Well after 1971, the Federal Reserve was able to create money at will. Where before it was restricted from creating dollars based on how much gold it had to back them up, now it was free and clear.
As the figures in the next section illustrate, Nixon’s actions in August of 1971 led to the unintended consequence that teachers and all middle class Americans are now facing.
The reason why teachers are now forced to “moonlight” to survive can be traced back almost 50 years.
MY RESEARCH – Gas, New Cars, New Homes, College Tuition
I established earlier that teacher salaries increased 619% from 1971 to 2015.
That kind of looks like a large number until you start comparing it with how much the cost of other items have gone up since 1971. To highlight just how meager it actually is, consider the comparative increases below:
Gallon of gas (1971) - $0.33
Gallon of gas (2015) – $2.51
Percentage Increase in a Gallon of Gas (1971 – 2015): 760%
Average Cost of New Car (1970) – $3,742
Average Cost of New Car (2015) – $33,560
Percentage Increase in Average Cost of New Car (1971-2015): 897%
Median New Home Price (December 1971) - $25,300
Median New Home Price (December 2015) - $297,100
Percentage Increase in Median New Home Price (1971 – 2015): 1,174%
Tuition, Room & Board Public Institution (1970-71 School Year) - $1,287
Tuition, Room & Board Public Institution (2014-15 School Year) - $21,728
Percentage Increase in Tuition, Room & Board (1971 – 2015): 1,688%
THE SQUEEZE – TEACHERS (AND THE MIDDLE CLASS) GET SCREWED
These numbers should speak for themselves.
Teacher salary only increased by 619% while the increases in gas, cars, homes and tuition went up anywhere from 760% to 1,688%.
Is it any wonder that teachers are having a hard time keeping up?
The same can be said for workers of all types. Although they did somewhat better than teachers (up 740%), this is still below the price increases we researched.
The bottom line is that all middle class Americans are having difficulty keeping up.
When you hear the expression “The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” you are not getting a full picture of modern America. That expression implies that everything must be fine with the middle class.
Well it’s not.
The middle class has been continually squeezed since at least 1971. Salaries simply have not kept up with the cost of living.
CONCLUSION: Stop Rallying for Social Justice – It’s Time to End the Fed
Usually this blog criticizes the NEA’s policy views and positions. This time we are sort of on the same page.
But only sort of….
The NEA thinks it can solve this salary problem by organizing politically and lobbying for more funding for public education. It wants a stronger union that can collectively bargain for better wages and benefits for teachers.
Unfortunately, this is only going to go so far towards solving the problem. It is merely a temporary patch - a band-aide at best.
As long as the Federal Reserve continues its policy of debasing the US currency, teachers and other middle class income earners will fall farther and farther behind.
So maybe the NEA needs to change its tactics.
Instead of spending so much time, energy and money worrying about social justice issues (like gathering in Washington to support the DACA Dreamers), the NEA should be lobbying Congress to stop the destructive policies of the Federal Reserve.
NEA members should become Economic Justice Warriors rather than Social Justice Warriors.
Our rallying cry should be: END THE FED!
APPENDIX: Money Supply, Gold & the National Debt
As of August 15, 1971, US money was no longer backed by gold. This meant that the Federal Reserve could print as much money as it wanted.
Did this actually happen?
Yes, it did – in spades as they say.
US Money Stock (M2) in December 1971 - $710.3 billon dollars.
US Money Stock (M2) in December 2015 - $12,330.8 billion dollars.
Percentage Increase in US Money Stock (M2) from 1971 – 2015: 1,736%
Still another way to get an idea of the destructive policy of Federal Reserve money printing is to look at the price of gold. Before 1971, gold’s price didn’t change because countries could always turn in their dollars and get a fixed amount of gold from the US.
But after Nixon closed the gold window, the price of gold started increasing. It actually increased more than the supply of money.
Price of Gold (end of 1971) – $44.60
Price of Gold (end of 2015) – $1,060
Percentage Increase in the Price of Gold (1971 – 2015): 2,376%
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that gold is not really increasing in price. As more money is printed and its supply increases, its value decreases. This means that you need more dollars to buy the same amount of gold.
One final point concerning unintended consequences. Ever since 1971, the Federal Government has gotten quite reckless in its spending habits. It acted as if it had a credit card with no limit. This can clearly be seen if you look at the increase in the national debt.
National Debt (1971) $398 billion dollars
National Debt (2015) $19,573 billion dollars
Percentage Increase in the National Debt (1971 – 2015): 4,917%
“Ensuring that all students have the right to a public-school education … is our primary responsibility.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, January 24, 2017
“…we will double-down on our efforts to protect the right of all students to a public-school education …”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, January 27, 2017
“Educators believe America is a country where all children have the right to a public education …”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, February 28, 2017
THESIS OF THIS BLOG POST: Once again the NEA channels Joseph Goebbels by spreading another “Big Lie” that education is a “right.” The NEA’s claim that education is a “right” is equivalent to its claim that public education is “free.”
GOEBBELS BIG LIE 1.0 – EDUCATION IS FREE
In a previous blog post, I showed that the NEA’s claim that “education is free,” was an example of Joseph Goebbels “Big Lie.”
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Now it is time to expose the NEA’s Big Lie 2.0: the so-called “right” to public education in America.
THE CONSTITUTION AND EDUCATION
If you have taken a basic civics course, you realize that the Constitution of the United States enumerates the powers of various branches of government.
In case you fell asleep in that class, let me remind you that regulation/control of education is not one of those enumerated powers.
In his article Education and the Constitution, David Boaz points out that, not so long ago, this was fairly common knowledge.
He cites a book called The History of the Formation of the Union under the Constitution published in 1943 by the US Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission. In the question/answer section of that book, he notes the following:
Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the states.
Of course, Boaz is a conservative writing for the Cato Institute. To be fair and balanced, I thought it best to broaden my research. So I checked out what other websites said about education and the Constitution.
This brought me to The Atlantic.
Media Bias/Fact Check indicated that this publication has a left-center bias.
Now this seemed fair. After all, I do want to present all sides of the issue.
In an article entitled Why Doesn't the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Education? The Atlantic says that:
“Each of the countries ahead of the U.S. has a fundamental commitment in common, one that the America doesn’t: a constitutional, or statutory, guarantee of the right to education.” [bold and underline added].
But my research didn’t stop there. I then went to the Huffington Post (Left Bias) and it also agreed.
The article I found here supported both previous sources. In a direct quote from the 1973 Court opinion San Antonio v. Rodriguez it made clear that:
“Though education is one of the most important services performed by the state, it is not within the limited category of rights recognized by this Court as guaranteed by the Constitution.”
I rounded out my research at the World Policy Center. For those of you who like pictures, I found an interactive web map here. You can click on the United States and it will tell you that our country does not guarantee the right to education.
THE NEA & THE ACLU – PERFECT TOGETHER
With all of this proof indicating that there is no right to an education, why do people like NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia continue to repeat this "Big Lie?"
Probably because they spend too much time reading pronouncements from the ACLU.
Maybe you don’t think there is any connection between the NEA and the ACLU?
You would be wrong, because this connection was quite easy to verify. I simply went to the NEA’s own website and typed in NEA and ACLU in the search bar.
I got 10 pages of results – that’s over 100 articles.
Clearly the NEA and the ACLU are in agreement on many issues related to education.
THE ACLU PERFORMS A DECEPTIVE SLEIGHT OF HAND ON EDUCATION RIGHTS
Now it was time to check out the ACLU website.
Right away I found an article related to the issue at hand. The particular article I found asked the question:
DO ALL KIDS HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN EQUAL EDUCATION?
The answer given is about as unequivocal as it gets:
“Yes! All kids living in the United States have the right to a free public education.” [bold and underline added]
But there are two problems with this ACLU answer:
It’s subtle, but the ACLU is actually performing what magicians call a sleight of hand here.
The ACLU is not stupid. It knows that individuals do not have a Constitutional right to “free public education.”
But individuals do have a right to “equal education” [which I discuss below].
So the ACLU is counting on the possibility that readers will not notice that the terms were changed from the question asked to the answer given.
Instead of backing up its claim about a right to education (which it knows is not possible), the ACLU starts talking about the 14th Amendment (“equal protection clause”) and the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education (“separate but equal”).
Unfortunately, these are “equal education” ideas that have nothing to do with “free public education.”
I saw this as a deliberate attempt at obfuscation. The ACLU was expecting that its readers would not notice the difference.
Did I call this stunt a mere sleight of hand earlier?
Maybe I should have been more direct.
This is a shameful, deceptive and underhanded move by an organization with an agenda to promote and protect.
THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA): SORRY ACLU AND NEA – ITS NOT REQUIRED BY LAW
The fact remains that kids do not have a constitutional right to a free public education.
However, they do have a guarantee of an equal education.
How is this possible?
Are you confused yet?
I know I was until I looked into the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the concept of Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
Here is how it is explained:
“… the courts established the right of children with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education [FAPE] in the least restrictive environment by interpreting the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment.”
So even though the Constitution doesn’t enumerate a right to education, the court says that states have to provide this FAPE anyway.
But isn’t that unconstitutional?
How can a law like IDEA (and its concept of FAPE) be legitimate if it goes against the supreme law of the land?
The truth is that states ARE NOT required to uphold IDEA and to provide this FAPE because they can opt out.
“Though none currently opt out, states may forgo federal IDEA funds in order to avoid complying with IDEA’s due process requirements. “
So the ACLU is doubly wrong:
CONCLUSION – SPEAKING THE TRUTH TO THE NEA'S "BIG LIE"
I will finish this blog post with another quote from that Cato article which I referenced above. It states both the Founding Father's and Constitutional point of view regarding the place of education within our Federal Government:
“[T]he U.S. Constitution grants no authority over education to the federal government. Education is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States, and for good reason. The Founders wanted most aspects of life managed by those who were closest to them, either by state or local government or by families, businesses, and other elements of civil society. Certainly, they saw no role for the federal government in education.”
The NEA can try all that it wants to spread the “Big Lie” about the “right” to an education.
The Anti-NEA blog will always be here to uncover the truth.
"NEA Leadership Summit Brings Together Committed Educators”
NEA Today Article describing the NEA Leadership Summit, January 2014
“Get Uncomfortable: Talking About Race, Inequity, and Injustice”
NEA Today Article describing the NEA Leadership Summit, October 2017
THESIS OF THIS BLOG POST - THE TIMES ARE A CHANGING…
When we read those opening quotes, we were struck by what a difference three years can make.
Our contention is that the NEA has become highly radicalized as of late.
To support this claim, we will cite evidence from the content of past NEA Leadership Summits. We are also going to include an analysis of the current Summit which is planned for March of 2018.
Here is an interesting point to consider as you read the rest of this post. Lily Eskelsen Garcia was elected president of the NEA in September of 2014. This date is important, because it means that she was not in charge of the NEA at the time of that first Leadership Summit.
Interestingly, the first Summit contained no obvious liberal or radical agenda items. But when we looked at subsequent Summits, we found that the percentage of radical content increased each year.
INSPIRATION FOR THIS BLOG POST: THE NEA & “BLACK LIVES MATTER”
We were inspired to write this post after coming across a Power Point from one of the break-out sessions held at the 2017 NEA Leadership Summit. It was called Making Black Lives Matter in Schools.
There is so much in that presentation that we disagree with, but the one thing that struck us as most offensive is found all the way at the end in a section entitled Session Outcomes. One of the final suggestions is to create “… partnerships with Black Lives Matter Chapters.”
Below is a screen shot of the Session Outcomes we are referring to:
You got that right. The NEA actually allowed a presentation at its Leadership Summit advocating partnership with the Black Lives organization.
This is considered leadership?
So this got us wondering. If in 2017 the NEA went this far in its embrace of radical causes, did it represent a total shift in policy or was it just a one-off marginal point of view presented by mistake?
We needed to do some research.
THE 2014 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT – An Actual Leadership Summit
The NEA held its first National Leadership Summit in January of 2014. While we couldn’t find a detailed list of every topic discussed at this first Summit, we did find an article which described the general theme:
“A common theme throughout the summit was a focus on enacting change through collaboration.”
Nothing radical there…
Further along, the article describes the “… idea behind the National Education Association’s inaugural Leadership Summits …”
“In order to improve public education, it’s essential for educators to be at the forefront of student-centered, union-led efforts to transform schools and improve the quality of their overall teaching profession for the better.
Again, nothing out of the bounds of reason there either.
In fact, as you read through this entire article, the overwhelming take-away is positive. And it is important to note that there is no mention of Black Lives Matter, restorative justice, ending the school to prison pipeline, social justice, LGBTQ+ or any other of the current NEA liberal policy initiatives.
The 2014 inaugural NEA Leadership Summit appears to be exactly what it was advertised to be – a leadership summit.
For the remainder of the Summits we found detailed information. The NEA has provided break-out session lists which specify exactly what was discussed each day.
As a way of gauging the extent of radicalization that has occurred since Eskelsen’s election, we have totaled up the number of liberal/radical sessions provided at each of the Leadership Summits as a percentage of total available sessions that educators could have attended. These percentages will give some idea of the trend over the past few years.
THE 2015 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT – 6.8% Radical/Liberal
Results of the 2015 Summit Break Out Sessions List:
Liberal Policy #1: Restorative Justice – 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #2: Engaging Latino Youth - 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #3: Restorative Practices – 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #4: Social Justice – 3 sessions
Liberal Policy #5: Educational Justice – 1 session
That is 10 liberal policy sessions out of total of 148 over the three days of the Summit.
2015 Percentage: 6.8%
THE 2016 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT – 7.3% Radical/Liberal
Results of the 2016 Summit Break Out Sessions List:
Liberal Policy #1: Social Justice – 5 sessions
Liberal Policy #2: Ending School-to-Prison Pipeline - 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #3: Standing up for Undocumented Students - 1 session
Liberal Policy #4: Latino Outreach – 1session
That is 9 liberal policy sessions out of total of 124 over the three days of the Summit.
2016 Percentage: 7.3%
THE 2017 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT – 13.3% Radical/Liberal
Results of the 2017 Summit Break Out Sessions List:
Liberal Policy #1: Black Lives Matter – 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #2: Restorative Justice - 1 session
Liberal Policy #3: People of Color - 1 session
Liberal Policy #4: Social Justice – 4 sessions
Liberal Policy #5: American Indians – 1 session
Liberal Policy #6: Race – 3 sessions
Liberal Policy #7: Ethnic Studies – 1 session
Liberal Policy #8: LBGTQ+ - 1 session
That is 14 liberal policy sessions out of total of 105 over the three days of the Summit.
2017 Percentage: 13.3%
THE 2018 LEADERSHIP SUMMIT – 13.8% Radical/Liberal
Results of the 2018 Summit Break Out Sessions List (Saturday AM, Saturday PM, Sunday AM):
Liberal Policy #1: Black Lives Matter – 1 session
Liberal Policy #2: LBGTQ+ - 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #3: American Indians – 1 session
Liberal Policy #4: Cultural Bias - 1 session
Liberal Policy #5: Minorities - 1 session
Liberal Policy #6: Social Justice – 1 session
Liberal Policy #7: Undocumented Students – 2 sessions
Liberal Policy #8: Restorative Practices – 3 sessions
Liberal Policy #9: People of Color – 1 session
That is 12 liberal policy sessions out of total of 87 over the three days of the Summit.
2018 Percentage: 13.8%
And one final note about the 2018 Leadership Summit. Believe it or not, the first four breakout sessions listed for the entire program are liberal/radical. They are shown in the screen shot below:
CONCLUSION: WE GET IT - CORRELATION NOT CAUSATION
Before some reader tells us that we have gone too far in our analysis, we state here very clearly that we are not suggesting causation - only a possible correlation.
In other words, we are not saying that Lily Eskelsen Garcia is totally responsible for this radical shift in the NEA’s idea of what leadership is all about.
But after reviewing the content of these Leadership Summits and reading countless articles on the NEA website, we have to conclude that the current direction of our union is towards radicalization.
2014 – 0% liberal/radical sessions
2015 – 6.5% liberal/radical sessions
2016 – 7.3% liberal/radical sessions
2017 – 13.3% liberal/radical sessions
2018 – 13.8% liberal/radical sessions
FINAL NOTE – SOME HOPE?
People complain about the negative tone of our blog - It’s called “Anti-NEA” after all.
And how can anything “Anti” be positive?
The positive is that we are spreading the truth about our union. As more people become aware of the continuing radicalization of the NEA, maybe they will raise up their voices in protest.
Is it possible that this protest will reach the “ears” of the NEA and that our union will turn from its errant ways?
Hope springs eternal.