Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why Your Child Is Stupid, Part I

(via CQ and Misha)
Dateline: July 7 - The National Education Association introduced its new business items on July 7. As someone who is keeping a career in education open, I would expect the NEA to have children's education at the top of their priorities - business or not.

Of course, this is not the case.

First Adopted Item: "NEA affirms and supports the decision of the Executive Committee to participate in the national Wal-Mart Consumer Education Campaign" - In other words, a boycott of Wal-Mart. This store is the most villified company on Earth, even though it's the world's largest non-governmental employer. How this will affect your child's education, I don't know.

Second Adopted Item: "The NEA will investigate financial firms it endorses as to their positions on Defined Benefit Systems and the privatization of Social Security. NEA will make available... the names of organizations that are leading these attacks on our members' retirement security". Yep. It's a shame the children whom we're supposed to be helping won't ever see a dime out of SS thanks to the NEA.

Third Adopted Item: "[A]dd the words "other" and "multi-ethnic" in addition to "unknown" in the category of ethnicity on all forms." - These have been on all forms I've filled out in school since 1999.

Fourth Adopted Item: "NEA Human and Civil Rights Department will begin in 2005-2006 to implement programs and activities, as a part of NBI 13, of 2004, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic merger of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Teachers Association (ATA), which occurred in 1966." - In other words, "YAY US!" - not "US" as in United States of course, but you know what they mean.

Fifth Adopted Item: "The NEA will form a coalition with other like-minded organizations and individuals to protect Social Security and the Defined Benefit Systems of this country." - Once again, social security must NOT BE PRIVATIZED! People are not smart enough to plan for their own retirement!

Business Item 8: "The NEA President, Reg Weaver, will direct the HIN to write an article on health problems from exposure to fragrance chemicals in NEA Today." - Oh. My. God. There has to be a secondary meaning in this, because this, given the 8th priority, before anything involving educating young people, seems completely pointless. You go Reg.
(Here's NEA Today from May 2005)

Business Item 11: "The NEA shall expand our nationwide plan to elect pro public education candidates to Congress in 2006 by sponsoring political training for members in targeted areas leading up to the election" - I'll give you a hint which party they're referring to.

Business Item 15: "The NEA will advocate that all school districts receiving federal, state and local technology funds utilize those funds to close the achievement gap, enhance data systems to support accountability and provide the training necessary for teachers and education support professionals to become highly qualified users of technology, in order to support pupil learning."
The first item involving students - at number 15! The fifteenth priority!

It gets worse, of course. The word "student" isn't mentioned until Item 21. And the word "child" - used in only 3 items. One of which is Item 30, in which it is used in the following context:
"NEA will undertake a two-tiered campaign to educate the public about the alternative governance arrangements required of schools in year 4 of program improvement under the so-called No Child Left Behind Act and promote option (V) restructuring as the most reasonable under the circumstances. Specifically,
  1. NEA will use all available means to educate its members on the issue and use existing resources to identify and work with schools, through their state and local affiliates, that are subject to school improvement, corrective action and restructuring.
  2. NEA will encourage outside organizations to participate in this effort to educate the public."
(I cannot find an adequate definition of "Option (V) Restructuring at this time)

The other two times the word "child" is mentioned? Item 38, which protests "Bring your child to work day", and Item 62.
Item 62 is as follows:
"NEA will provide information and encourage participation in Operation Iraqi Children. This program helps provide school supplies to Iraqi school children. This process can be accomplished through means of communication including the NEA Today, the NEA website, and other means to activate local affiliates to support this humanitarian outreach."

Seems positive at first, of course, and in essence, it is meant to be. However, the item preceding it (61), reads as follows:
"The NEA calls on President Bush and Congress to:
  • support our troops by creating an exit strategy to end the U.S. Military occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home.
  • provide adequate veterans benefits and meet the needs of our veterans for adequate jobs, education, and healthcare.

The NEA will:

  • support NEA members and their families called upon to serve in Iraq by identifying and providing information about resources and services to help meet their special needs, by advocating for their interests and by protecting their jobs, seniority, and benefits.
  • advocate the reordering of national priorities toward peace and the human needs of our people."
You read that right: The NEA is demanding an EXIT STRATEGY! Support the troops by bringing them home! Support the firefighters by not letting them fight fires! Support the teachers by not forcing them to educate. Oh wait - they're doing that themselves.

Together, items 61 and 62 cry out: "Here schoolchildren, here's everything you need to be prepared for school. Binders, notebooks, pens, pencils... no evil US troops. Any questions? Yes, Muhammed? Beslan? What the hell is that?"

I'm sure that offended a bunch of people, and it probably should have. I make no apology towards it. The NEA has no idea what they're supposed to be doing anymore.

This is only part of the list. In part II, I look at even more ridiculous things on the NEA's business inventory. I also castigate my sister-in-law for going along with this organization in direct defiance of her "strongly-held principles" (her words, not mine)

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