THE WORM IN THE AMERICAN EDUCATION APPLE
Editor’s Comment: We can’t learn enough about the National Education Association
CONDENSED BY LU HAYNES
“…Quit talking about letting kids escape…” That’s what Keith Geiger, president of the NEA stated on the Larry King Show in November of last year when confronted with the idea of using tax monies to allow parents a choice in educating their children. Escape?
That attitude is reflected throughout the National Education Association, (NEA), an organization that is not about to change its insatiable drive for power and perks without a fight to the last man.
The fact is the most powerful trade union in America plays very rough as the Alpena Michigan taxpayers found out in 1981. Their school system was shut down for budgetary reasons after repeatedly refusing to raise property taxes. (The blackmail worked and Alpena capitulated along with several other Michigan school districts threatened with shutdown.)
The NEA was still at it in March of 1993 when a small-town, Kalkaska Michigan, school system was shut down at the cost of $1.1 million when the taxpayers refused to shovel more money their way via increased property taxes. The teachers were calling for a 6% annual increase, for 3 years running, in a poor rural area (average income $22,000) where teachers (average income: about $32,000) are already among the top wage earners.
The 2.1 million member NEA has passed the Teamsters as the nations biggest union and is the worm in the American education apple. It collects an estimated $750 million in annual dues that supports its operation and its intense commitment to partisan politics. Former Secretary of Education William Bennett said of the NEA, “You are looking at the absolute heart and center of the Democratic Party. “
The “heart and center”, incidentally, endorsed Clinton for President. One out of every eight delegates to the ’92 Democratic National Convention was from this core group, the NEA. They brag that NEA members have been the largest single bloc at the Democratic conventions going back as far as 1976. Yet over a third of the membership are Republicans and 40% voted for Ronald Reagan and in 1988, for George Bush. What we have here is the ultimate oligarchy who by supporting Bill Clinton in his race for the presidency gained the following response, “If I become President, you’ll be my partners. I won’t forget who brought me to the White House.” That commitment was made to the NEA candidate-screening panel in December 1991.
Their jubilation at Clinton being elected president didn’t go without celebration. In January of 1993 they delivered posters proclaiming, “Bill Clinton’s & Al Gore’s Most Excellent Inaugural” to more than 26,000 schools across America. I wonder how many school children and teachers would have rather it read, “Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Inaugural.” At least Bill and Ted wouldn’t have had a socialist agenda ready to foist on America immediately after being sworn into office.
The NEA is bigger, more centralized, more powerful politically and even nastier than most have imagined.
Consider this example of nastiness. The California Teachers Association (CTA, an NEA affiliate) blocked people from signing petitions in shopping malls, allegedly wrote fake names on petitions, tried to interfere with the petition’s validation and even offered a signature-collecting firm $400,000 to decline the account.
The petition must have been a dire threat to some long held freedom, because CTA’s president D. A. Weber said, “There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters. We do not believe, for example we should hold an election empowering the Ku Klux Klan. And we would not think it’s ‘undemocratic’ to oppose voting on legalizing child prostitution.”
This “evil” petition was asking for support of educational choice, giving parents the right to decide where their children would go to school and the CTA president is comparing that to legalizing child prostitution!
A new Gallop poll shows that 70% of the American people support parents receiving tax dollars to send their children to private schools up from 50% just a year ago.
The NEA is even bigger, more centralized, and more politically influential and in key respects nastier than is realized. The NEA’s centralizing power is further enhanced by its partial financial support and effective control of about 1,500 “UniServ” professionals, at least one in every congressional district. They constitute the largest field army of paid political organizers and lobbyists in the U.S.
All of this raw, unbridled force completely annihilates any competition. And yet as their power and as education dollars increased dramatically, SAT math and verbal scores plummet downward like spent fireworks. Specifically, per pupil spending, measuring in 1992 dollars, went from $974 in 1945 to a ballistic $5,216 in 1992. During the same period teachers salaries increased, in 1992 dollars, from $14,770 average to $35,334 not including approximately 25% (after tax) additional in fringe benefits.
President Kennedy approved of federal public sector unions in 1962 and the resulting curve on the graph tracking their growth resembles the trail of the space shuttle, Challenger, minus the startling explosion. (That blowup is predictably in the near future, as Americans learn the truth of the NEA rip-off.)
Our government allows very preferential treatment be given the NEA since Kennedy’s executive order. They are considered a federally chartered corporation.
Like the Red Cross, the NEA does not have to pay property taxes, saving them some $2 million for their overflowing coffers every year, thus giving them unfair advantage over other labor unions that must pay this tax. A Rutgers economist, Leo Troy, writes in his book that the NEA differs from other unions in that the NEA’s primary weapon is political power.
The NEA, along with other “new” unions, uses this power to redistribute income toward government, which Mr. Troy calls the “new socialism.” The NEA, unlike other “new” unions, is NOT subject to the National Labor Relations Act that would prohibit the union wrestling control of school management from those who legitimately hold it.
Even more threatening is the fact that the union has been most successful at gaining control of the curriculum. The NEA doesn’t have to abide by the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity. This freedom allows them to oppose any effort to limit government spending and indeed, they are recognized as the main opponent to the National Taxpayers Union’s efforts to do so.
Their PAC’s raised about $6.5 million last year. Over two million dollars went towards congressional candidates with the remainder going to the state level to fight the “evil” that the CTA President referred to, known to decent people as “school choice.”
There is a solution to the problem. The individual states can challenge the hammerlock grip of the NEA.
Texas has the secret to take away the privileges that this corrupt monopoly enjoys. Texas is a right-to-work state and teachers cannot be forced to join the NEA. As a result, many teachers have opted to join the Association of Texas Professional Educators, a genuine professional association, which is now about as large as the NEA in Texas. It is that simple.
This group of radical, anti-American mobsters is wholly dependent on ill-gotten, ill-earned legal privileges, as much as it is on favorable public policy. In addition to states passing right-to-work laws, the NEA should be examined under the harsh but just light of the principles of the Constitution dealing with equal protection and our republican government.
A parting thought. Almost one-quarter of the NEA members send their own children to private schools. Bill and Hillary also, without apology, acknowledge the problem –look where Chelsea goes to school.
Condensed from Forbes 5/7/93 article, “How the NEA Corrupts Our Public Schools.”
Lu Haynes of Kettle Falls WA. Lu is the Liason officer for Grass Roots Of Washington (GROW). Originally written by Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer for Forbes.
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