The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teacher union, is a self-proclaimed champion for the cause of quality public education. So the union’s leaders and publications have avowed at every opportunity as the main reason it devotes substantial teacher dues every year to such non-classroom functions as a team of Washington lobbyists, a “State Policy and Politics Unit,” and a political action committee.
But the NEA raised eyebrows recently when it announced that it was entering a strategic partnership with MoveOn.org, the radical anti-Bush activist group, for an election-season campaign to attack the President’s signature No Child Left Behind Act. The partnership left many wondering what NEA leadership was seeking to accomplish, in addition to classroom concerns, and how much of its agenda was really in tune with its member teachers whose dues were supplying the ammunition.
The following 10 positions are from an official July 2004 document, “Advancing NEA’s Legislative Program,” distributed by the union at its national convention earlier this summer. How many teachers would find it appropriate that their dues are being spent to advance each of these agenda items?
The National Education Association:
1. Opposes federal requirements to make significant decisions about schools, teachers, or children based primarily on test scores.
2. Opposes the use of draft registration or immigration status as an eligibility criterion for federal student aid funds for college students.
3. Supports a mutual, verifiable nuclear freeze with cessation of testing, production, and future deployment of nuclear delivery systems and other destabilizing systems.
4. Supports requirements that pension fund investments be socially desirable and fiducially responsible.
5. Supports reproductive freedom without government intervention.
6. Supports legislation to study possible reparations to African Americans to address the past and residual effects of slavery in America.
7. Supports statehood for the District of Columbia.
8. Opposes exchange between agencies of confidential information about a citizen without the individual’s knowledge.
9. Opposes mandatory testing of school employees for the HIV.
10. Opposes any trade agreement lacking the inclusion of any social charter or other guarantees of high standards of human rights, environmental, and union protection.
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