Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why Your Child Is Stupid, Part 3

Here we go.

Item 63: "The NEA... shall educate members about the Central American Free Trade Agreement and its serious negative consequences for education. Moreover, the NEA shall actively participate in coalitional efforts to defeat this regressive trade agreement in line with the oppositional position taken by Education International on CAFTA due to commercialization of education and privatization of public services." - WHAT? CAFTA, like NAFTA before it, is something that only good can come out of. And what about CAFTA pertains to education exactly? Is it that goddamn Privatization word again? That's akin to a 4-letter word in teacher circles.

Item 67: "To the greatest extent possible, NEA will commit itself and strongly encourage its affiliates to purchasing promotional products that are manufactured in the United States." - Excellent idea, still nothing to do with educating students.

Item 70: "The NEA shall publicize the position of the Education International on the need for debt cancellation in underdeveloped countries." - Bono joins the NEA. Film at 11.

Items 72 and 73 go together. Can you guess why?
Item 72: "The National Education Association will conduct a review of existing literature and research studies of school reform, specifically small schools conversion, with regard to employee issues -- training-support, workload-conditions, turnover rate, grievances, contracts, and to student issues-graduation, dropout rate, academic performance, college-career paths, safety, and the sustainability of small schools. The results of review will be made available to NEA members through the usual channels."
Item 73: "NEA will work to form coalitions with university deans of education, parent-teacher, business, student (education student) organizations and NCATE to consult on changing curricula at America's universities, and how teachers teach teachers to reflect our changed student populations."
That's right - Items 72 and 73 are actually helpful to students! It only took 72 items to reach this point! Well, 73 really only helps education-majors, but it is a start.

Item 75: "The NEA will declare a designated area of the NEA/RA and related meetings and activities a fragrance free zone." - WTF? More time teaching, less time fragrancing.

Item 78: "NEA will urge its members that they "do not shop" at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club due to Wal-Mart's anti-union, low-wage, low-benefit policies that have left its employees in need of hundreds of million of dollars in public aid for various health care and social safety net programs." I think I'll shop at Wal-Mart now. At least there ARE wages and benefits, however small. A little of anything is better than being unemployed.

BTW - Is it true that the lowest welfare benefits available in all 50 states exceeds minimum wage? Wouldn't that be more incentive to stay on welfare? Stupid nanny-state politicians. If this is true (I recall reading it at least twice), it is the single dumbest law on the books.

Item 79: "It is moved that the RA goes on record condemning President Vincente-Fox of Mexico's support of the insensitive use of ethnic stereotypical caricatures". However, we do not condemn Vincente-Fox's encouragement of illegal immigration. That's fine and dandy.

Item 82: "NEA will develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the new and more sophisticated attacks on curricula, policies, and practices that support GLBT students, families, and staff members in public schools." - Sigh. Voting against gay marriage = stoning gays. We've heard it before.

Item 88: "NEA will ask the NEA Health Information Network to provide information to members regarding "acceptable" mercury levels set by the past administration as compared to the higher levels recently adopted by the present administration, and to educate members about the adverse impact of mercury exposure on student learning. Additionally, NEA will monitor the lawsuit Environmental Defense v. EPA, which challenges the EPA decision to increase mercury emission levels. NEA also will explore the feasibility of filing an amicus brief if and when the case is appealed." - I've got a simple answer for you: teach kids not to ingest mercury. Don't eat mercury, and you won't get Acrodynia. Simple. Did you notice that the NEA will file an Amicus if the ruling isn't to their liking? Use the courts, Luke!*

* I have no idea where I read that phrase, but I liked it and used it.

The NEA does NOT have child welfare in mind. They are more concerned with themselves than with the students. As public workers, they are supposed to be working for "The Greater Good" - didn't they go over this when they signed up? Teaching is a difficult job because unlike every other job out there (excepting medical professionals and the armed forces), you are not supposed to be working in your own self-interest! When you do, that defeats the entire purpose of the job! Teaching really is about the children!

10 Things the NEA should be concerned about:
1. Methods of pedagogy should not be different for different races, sexes, orientations, ethnicities, and religions. We are all human beings. 2 plus 2 is 4. It has nothing to do with "street" or "capitalist oppression", or "gender barriers".
2. Every non-special education student cannot move on to the next grade level until he or she is able to read, write and speak at their current grade level. "Southern Slang" and "Ebonics" and anything of a similar vein should be discouraged.
3. Bilingual education should be discouraged. However, students should be encouraged to learn a second language as early as English Proficiency is reached. (IE, mathematics should not be taught in English AND Spanish, but any student who wishes to learn Spanish should be encouraged to do so in a separate class)
4. Teachers should not indoctrinate students with their political or religious beliefs, be they liberal, conservative, libertarian, Christian, ID, Atheist, or others. This does not apply to evolution, which shall still be taught, as it is technically not a religious belief.
5. Any teacher caught in a compromising position with a student shall immediately be detenured and fired. If the student is the one who initiates the situation, he or she shall be discipline. All flirtatious behavior or comments of a sexual nature by educators will be responded to with a stern warning.
6. Upon graduation from high school, all students should be moderately prepared for the workforce and should know how to manage finances. They should also be taught to prepare for their own retirement.
7. All teachers must be qualified to teach their subject and must have test results (Similar to an SAT II or Praxis II score) to prove this. A bachelor's degree or higher may be used in place of this, assuming the degree is less than 20 years old. In turn, educators will take a test on knowledge of their subjects every fifth year after 20 years to prove they are still competent.
8. The NEA agrees to be a non-partisan organization and retracts any statements made in support or detraction of any Federal Administration. However, individual policies may still be criticized and/or supported. A blanket condemnation/endorsement by the NEA is discouraged.
9. Students' freedom of speech will not be abridged, though well-known slurs will be decidedly discouraged and punishment will be at the educator's discretion.
10. While some self-esteem is necessary, it should not be made into the be-all end-all of early childhood education. While it is important to feel good about oneself, it does not take precedence over preparation for life itself. A nine-year-old child can "feel as good" about him or herself as he or she wants, but if said student cannot read, the purpose of education is lost. We have the right to the Pursuit of Happiness, but not the right to happiness itself.

Thank you.

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