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.
“Yes, we need to get really serious about free, HIGH-QUALITY, universal education for children.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Lily’s Blackboard
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda
THE NEA AND “FREE” PUBLIC EDUCATION
The NEA President, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, says we need to get serious about “free” education. Should we take her at her word? Do we conclude that she really means what she says – that she actually believes education is free?
Let’s start by assuming that the NEA President is not stupid.
OK, so why does she make a statement that is patently false? Why does Eskelsen insist on telling such a “Big Lie?”
Before answering this question, it is important to note that the tendency to describe education as “free” is standard procedure in the NEA.
A quick search of its website makes this quite clear:
“Access to a free, quality education is the key to the uniquely American promise of equal opportunity for all.”
“Campaign continues to push governments to provide quality, free public education by 2015”
“IMMIGRATION STATUS AND THE RIGHT TO A FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION”
“The Supreme Court has already considered—and may revisit—nearly every issue that matters to educators: the right to equal access to free public education”
The NEA is an active member of the Global Campaign for Education which calls on governments to: “fulfill their promises to provide a free, quality public education for all children.”
Education’s Opportunity Dashboard, Lily Eskelsen García: “and a free and public education has become a rite of passage for every American child.”
It's Time to Push for Free College: “We have made K-12 education free because it is good for the individual and for society.”
THE REALITY: EDUCATION IS NOT FREE
Of course, education is not free.
This is such an obvious fact of reality, but take a moment to note how GLARINGLY obvious it really is:
You get the point.
In fact, spending on education is quite high. In 2015, on average, per pupil spending was $11,392 according to Education Spending Per Student by State
THE NEA TAKES A LESSON FROM JOSEPH GOEBBELS?
So, Eskelsen and the NEA both know that education is not free, but they continue to say that it is (i.e. lie). How to account for this?
Perhaps they took a lesson from Dr. Goebbels?
Whatever they did, their strategy has certainly been successful.
Most Americans are convinced that education really is free. They have heard the word “free” coupled with “education” for so long that they have really “come to believe it” as Goebbels puts it. Just take a glance at a sample of recent headlines dealing with “free” college tuition:
A CNBC Poll: "Would you support or oppose making tuition at public colleges and universities free for anyone who wants to attend?"
Poll: Most support making college free: "As the cost of college tuition continues to grow, Democrats are proposing that public schools should be free for students, and most of those polled agree."
Bernie Sanders is right: Make public colleges tuition-free
Make college free for all
Bernie Sanders: free public college tuition is the 'right thing to do'
MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES
Joseph Goebbels’ famous line about the Big Lie actually has a second part which is just as insightful as the more famous first part. He continues:
“The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” [bold and underline added]
Margaret Thatcher had her own version of this:
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”
The NEA can talk all it wants about how “free” education is. The fact remains that the tax-payers will only believe it for so long. School districts need to keep this in mind when they plan future budgets and unions have to remember this when it comes time for negotiations.
When the economy inevitably turns down again (a recession is almost a done-deal before the end of President Trump's term), the government isn't going to be able to "shield the people" from economic reality.
And when the money runs out, hard-pressed taxpayers are not going to be in any mood to foot the bill.