Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association
We have absolutely no affiliation with the National Education Association and do not represent its views in any way, shape or form.
“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.