Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
The following article by Tim Walker appeared in NEA Today on September 12, 2017:
Whose Looking Out for Rural Schools?
As you would expect, there is much in this NEA article that, while though-provoking, is completely one-sided. After all, the NEA has an obvious bias and clear agenda when it comes to education in this country.
But it is one thing to present information in order to appeal to your base while quite another to make outright false statements.
Tim Walker is making an egregiously false statement (lie) when he writes:
“Private school vouchers are a uniformly unpopular idea … [underline and bold added]”
Now I realize that this falsehood (lie) is a small one given the length of the article. Someone might rightly ask: “So you had to pick one teeny tiny half-sentence out of a several page long article just to prove a point? You really are nitpicking aren’t you.”
Yes, I suppose I am nitpicking.
But it just struck me that the NEA would allow such a bold and unequivocally false statement, that vouchers are “uniformly unpopular,” appear in one of their articles.
Didn’t anyone over there do any fact checking?
Now, if Walker had at least provided some evidence to back up this statement, then I could accept it. But he doesn’t provide any evidence. He makes a misstatement (lies) and then moves on to another topic.
Probably because there isn’t any evidence.
SUPPORT FOR VOUCHERS
In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite.
In an article at Real Clear Education (May 26, 2017), “Trump Should Capitalize on Vouchers’ Newfound Popularity”, we read about the Education Next Poll:
“Now, according to a poll just released by Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center, vouchers that use taxpayer funds for low-income students to attend private schools gathered support from 43% of the public, with only 31% opposed.”
That is an 12% increase in support since 2016.
And from the same website, how about the poll from the Harvard School of Public Health which showed:
“…54% of the public support vouchers, with only 41% opposed. That’s a jump upward of 9 percentage points…”
But don’t just trust that Real Clear Education got it right. The Mercury News also covered this increasing support for vouchers in an Associated Press story on August 15, 2017:
“At the same time, opposition to publicly funded vouchers that help parents pay private school tuition dropped from 44 percent last year to 37 percent; 45 percent of respondents currently favor the idea. When it comes to tax credit-funded scholarships for private schools, resistance fell from 29 percent to 24 percent, while support was at 54 percent now.”
And how would Walker and the NEA explain this event in Nevada from January 27, 2017?
“Hundreds Rally as School Choice Gains in Popularity”
SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL CHOICE A MYTH?
Let me finish my commentary by questioning another statement made by Walker. He states:
“That communities are profoundly dissatisfied with public schools is one of the myths used to champion policies that are wrapped in euphemisms such as “choice” and “competition” but have, where they have taken hold, often exacerbated the financial plight of rural schools.”
So here is a question for the NEA in general and Walker in particular:
If people love their public school so much why would choice and competition exacerbate “the financial plight of rural schools?”
That is a good question.
After all, if local public schools are so good, parents wouldn’t need to avail themselves of charter schools or vouchers.
Therefore, the local districts wouldn't be losing any money, right?