Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why Your Child Is Stupid, Part II

In part I, I looked at the first 15 or so business items, plus items 61 and 62. Let's see what else is on tap for the NEA.

Item 18: "The NEA shall annually provide information about and promote the designation of April as National Donate Life month to promote organ and tissue donation throughout the United States." Can be beneficial, but once again, nothing to do with students. There's been one item among the first 18 dealing with education.

Item 19: "In accord with the NEA Legislative Program, NEA shall develop and implement a communications plan to inform members of the adverse consequences associated with any effort to either directly or indirectly divert Social Security Trust Fund surplus amounts to private accounts within Social Security." - There's that blasted Social Security Privatization again! WHY CAN'T THE PRESIDENT SEE HE'S SCREWING OVER THE TEACHERS WHO ARE TOO BUSY SCREWING OVER THE STUDENTS?! WHY, I ASK YOU?!

Ahem. Remember when I mentioned that Item 21 was the first to use the word "Student"? Well, what I didn't tell you is that the word "Student" in item 21 does not refer to K-12 pupils.

Item 21: "The NEA, in conjunction with the Student Advisory Committee, will conduct a review of the NEA Student Program:
  • To explore funding of organizers assigned by NEA regions to assist states in student organizing and transition to certified membership.
  • To explore grants to states for pilot programs for transition from student to certified membership.
  • To establish membership potential and membership goals for student programs.
  • To seek input from current and past student members for program enhancement and improvement of transition to certified membership.
  • To explore grants by NEA regions to increase student member attendance at Regional Leadership Conferences."
What this is is a program designed to increase the number of teachers, and in turn, increase the numbers in the NEA. While more teachers is a good thing, more qualified teachers is better.

Item 23: "The NEA will give members the option to receive publications including NEA Today and This Active Life in electronic format rather than in hard copy." - Take THAT, print media! Electronic communication wins again!

Item 25: "The NEA renew and enhance its nationwide initiative to educate our members of the dangers of privatization of our defined benefit pension plans, the impact on retirement benefits and public education, and what NEA is doing to combat these dangers." - Am I sensing a recurring theme here? I think the NEA may be more worried about their own retirements than the children's futures! As for me, I'll pull a Scalia and be at my post until I'm dead. That would probably be a nasty sight for the students. "Erm... the teacher's not getting up..." Anyway, did the NEA mention that SS PRIVATIZATION IS EVIL?!

Item 27: "I move that NEA propose to the National Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee the publishing of a commemorative stamp honoring the vital contributions made to public education by all ESPs" - In case you thought you read that wrong. Yes, Virginia, there is a "National Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee". And I thought I had too much time.

Item 28: "That NEA make our resolutions easily accessible on NEA's public website." - "Oops, we won't be doing THAT again."

I already discussed item 30, but let's see that phrase again. "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"

Item 32: "Move that NEA, utilizing existing policy, study the feasibility of initiating a boycott of Gallo wine." - What does boycotting winemongers have to do with educating children? Perhaps about the dangers of alcohol, but I sincerely doubt that's why the NEA is considering it.

Item 33: "The NEA will develop a strategic program to help NEA Republican members advance a pro-public education agenda within the Republican Party." - Please, someone tell me HOW this is ANY different from the Christian Right trying to set THEIR agenda into place in the Republican Party. Other than the CR actually having a shot, of course.

Item 34: "NBI: Defending Affirmative Action and Opposing the Deceptive "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative"
  1. The NEA will defend the national affirmative action victory that resulted from the Supreme Court decision in Grutter v Bollinger by opposing Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action ballot initiative, deceptively known as the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" (MCRI).
  2. The NEA will support efforts to keep MCRI off the ballot due to extensive fraud and deception in petition gathering."
I don't think I need to say anything about Item 34.

Item 35: "The NEA will work in coalition with appropriate accrediting agencies, state credentialing agencies, and advocacy groups to encourage pre-service and in-service (including induction) training of teachers and education support professionals in current theory, effective pedagogy, and successful strategies for meeting the needs of English Language Learners."

Note: This is the ONLY time that the word "pedagogy" (basically meaning how things are taught) in the entire document. And the NEA wonders why the GOP is not exactly "Pro Public Education". Then again, the NEA is probably more worried about their retirements. 2 million teachers are expected to retire by 2007, of course.

Item 38: "[E]xpress NEA's opposition to the annual observance of "Take Your Child to Work Day" during the traditional school year to the appropriate organization(s). We request this worthwhile day be observed during a non-attendance day for students (or one with less impact on student learning)." - Because taking a child to work won't actually teach them anything - especially not anything they would need to learn to hold said work.

Item 40: "That the NEA investigate and report in its publications the present status of student freedom of speech." - Free speech, as long as no one is offended, of course.

Item 41: "That the NEA disseminate... specific recommendations to its membership designed to prevent compromising situations that could lead to allegations of inappropriate professional behavior." - This is good. Offense completely intended, but the Roman Catholic Church (to which I belong) needs to institute this policy as well. Though they could just toss out the Bureaucratese and just say - "DO NOT engage in flirtatious behavior with students"

Item 42: "The NEA shall work with other pro-democracy and pro-labor organizations to lead an education campaign among members and the general public about the need for support of strong public programs and institutions in the face of increasing privatization." - Public schools, good. Private schools: EVIL!

Item 47: "The NEA will inform members about reasons for the boycott of Gallo wines... The NEA will ensure that Gallo wines are not served at any function of the Association." - What the hell is Gallo Wines, anyway?

Item 53: "The NEA deplores the inappropriate use of words such as 'retarded' and 'gay.'" - Please compare this with Item 40, above.

Item 54: "The NEA will explore the feasibility of using existing sources of information from credible institutions such as the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities, to educate its members on the regressive taxation practices of the Federal Government, utilizing NEA publications and the NEA Web site." - What the HELL does this have to do with education? "Regressive Taxation Practices"? You'd think that people would notice, by now, that tax cuts stimulate the economy. If Clinton had stood for tax cuts instead of tax increases, he'd be in the list of top 15 presidents no contest. Instead, his legacy will be a blue dress and/or his wife.

In Part III, I'll do what I promised to do in part I, plus go over the last 40 items. I also come up with my own list, of what the NEA's priorities SHOULD be.

(I am in full awareness of the sheer number of copyright laws I'm in violation of. You'd think they teach kids about that in school, but after reading this, maybe you don't.)

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