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.
“The idea of arming teachers is ill-conceived, preposterous, and dangerous. This new national survey of educators confirms that.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García
“You may not be aware of a recent survey that showed that if the First Amendment were put to a popular vote today, it would fail by a 60% to 40% vote.”
James E. Rogers
"Opinion polls measure the public’s satisfaction with its ignorance.”
THESIS OF THIS BLOG POST – Facts and research (not opinion) should support policy
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia believes that a survey her organization “commissioned” confirms a policy position that “arming teachers is ill-conceived, preposterous and dangerous.”
Hold on there - a survey is being used to confirm the position that arming teachers is inadvisable?
So you don’t need to support a point of view with serious research?
Facts don’t matter anymore?
Policy positions need only be grounded in survey results and polls?
Well, here is a fact that Garcia may want to ponder: Surveys and polls do nothing more than confirm the opinion of the people who were surveyed/polled.
So Eskelsen Garcia should be embarrassed even thinking about using that NEA survey. Coming to an anti-gun conclusion based on a survey which questioned a mere 1,000 union members (out of approximately 3,000,000) is the definition of an “ill-conceived, preposterous and dangerous” approach to determining the truth of an issue.
THE NEA’S SURVEY RESULTS
According to an article written by Tim Walker on March 13, 2018, the NEA conducted a survey of 1,000 of its members in early March to determine their positions on a variety of gun issues.
NEA Survey: Educators Say No to Arming Teachers, Favor Real Solutions to Gun Violence
Here is a summary of some of the results:
Or to sum it up in just one sentence: Guns are bad because “educators” say so.
You can find the actual survey results by clicking the link below.
The NEA Anti-Gun Survey
SURVEY PROBLEM #1 – How did they decide who to call?
According to the NEA, the survey was done “nationwide.”
But members are not distributed nationwide on an equal basis.
Take a look at the chart included below and you will see what I am talking about (these are figures from 2016).
California is home to 10% of NEA members (approximately 300,000 out of about 3 million total members in 2016). Because the NEA surveyed a total of 1,000 to decide its gun policy position, were 100 phone calls (10%) made to this state?
If the survey is to be considered trustworthy, we need to know if states were polled in proportion to their membership.
Because if liberal states like California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts were more heavily surveyed, this would probably skew the results in an anti-gun direction.
The opposite would be true if more phone calls were made to NEA members in Texas or Pennsylvania. These states would skew the results in a more pro-gun direction.
SURVEY PROBLEM #2 – Not all NEA members are actually teachers
According to an Education Week blogpost on 3/13/18:
“The poll, conducted March 1-5 by GBA Strategies, surveyed 1,000 NEA members who work in schools …”
Unfortunately, “NEA members who work in schools” could include Education Support Professionals (ESP’s) as well as standard classroom teachers.
Don’t know what an ESP is? I did a blog post on this topic which you can check out by following this link:
Has political correctness gone mad? Teachers are now ITSFL’s (Individuals Tasked with the Facilitation of Student Learning)
According to the NEA this group includes:
Why am I making a big deal about this?
You might not realize it, but ESP’s make up about 25% of the membership of the NEA. According to 2014 data (the most current I could find), there were 500,000 ESP members in the NEA at a time when total membership was 2.1 million. This suggests that almost 25% (250/1,000) of the individuals surveyed were not even actual teachers.
So when Garcia and the NEA claim that “educators say no to arming teachers,” this doesn’t necessarily meant that classroom teachers say no to arming teachers.
SURVEY PROBLEM #3 – Most respondents were women who teach in younger grades
77% of the individuals surveyed by the NEA were women. This may seem fair at first because about 77% of teachers in the US are actually female.
But consider that about 41% of secondary school teachers are men (according to 2015 data).
Why is this figure relevant?
Because between 2013 and 2015, 35 of the 72 school shootings included in an Analysis of School Shootings by Every Town Research happened at high schools.
But only 27% of those surveyed by the NEA were actually high school teachers.
Is it possible that high school teachers (who are men) might have a different position on the gun issue than women?
So maybe the NEA's claim that “educators say no to arming teachers” doesn’t apply equally to all levels of schooling.
ASSORTED OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE SURVEY
Here are some other indications of bias within the survey:
And consider the answers to the following question:
“Now, I'd like to rate your feelings toward a few organizations and people, with one hundred meaning a VERY WARM, FAVORABLE feeling; zero meaning a VERY COLD, UNFAVORABLE feeling; and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to one hundred, the higher the number the more favorable your feelings are toward that person or organization.”
WHO CONDUCTED THAT “SURVEY” ANYWAY?
“GBA Strategies offers broad expertise in survey research and strategic consulting in corporate communications, branding strategy, international relations, and political campaigns at all levels of government. From Democratic candidates for office to socially conscious small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, labor unions and progressive ballot initiative campaigns to world famous cultural institutions, think tanks to advocacy groups and civic organizations, we delve deeply into our clients’ issues and audiences, conduct high-quality research, and develop winning game plans.” [Bold and underline added].
Would you admit a possible bias in the survey questions?
I will leave that an open question.
CONCLUSION – I’M NOT ONE OF THEM
If you go to the NEA Today Facebook page you will see the following graphic posted on March 13, 2018:
Let me state this loud and clear – I’m NOT one of them.