Tuesday, September 07, 2004


We’ve been learning about priorities from the recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions. But another recent national convention exposes priorities for public education that are radically opposed from those of Nebraska taxpayers, parents and educators.

The National Education Association met in Washington, D.C., this past summer, and the conservative education newspaper, Education Reporter (offered by subscription, with online highlights posted on www.eagleforum.org/educate/index.html), listed some of the NEA resolutions in its August issue.

It’s appalling to see the NEA’s utter lack of emphasis on academics, and extreme focus on socialistic issues.

Pop quiz: take out a piece of paper and a pencil, and list your top priorities for K-12 education. Yours might look a lot like mine:

Quality academic instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, foreign language, the arts, and a chance to do a few things just for fun and self-development, such as sports, clubs and service

Good role modeling and fair disciplinary rules to build leadership and character

A high degree of respect shown by educators to parents, taxpayers and elected officials, with a service ethic and a dedication to excellence



Now compare those simple, common-sense goals with what the NEA wants. Here’s just a sampling of the union’s new resolutions, with my translation of what each priority really means in parenthesis:

A-2. Mandatory accreditation

(forced compliance with a rigid, top-down school format that minimizes academic quality and parental input, and maximizes bureaucratic and union power).

A-11. Ban on selling or leasing closed public-school buildings to private schools or other educational ventures

(an economic blockade against healthy competition, which is the only way to improve the quality of education in this country).

A-14. Increased funding for programs against race, gender and sexual-orientation discrimination and stereotypes, and full-day, every-day kindergarten

(push the schools even farther away from their basic mission of delivering academics, and even though there’s no evidence all-day kindergarten helps the vast majority of kids academically, the real goal is to shift the kids’ alliances further away from hearth and home at a younger and younger age, and deeper into the bosom of the bureaucracy).

A-15. Substantial increases in federal funding for public schools, and no federal help for private schools

(the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits federal funding for local schools, and increasing federal power shrinks accountability and control of parents and taxpayers).

B-1. Free child care and preschool in the public schools for birth through age 8 with diversity-based curricula, bias-free screening devices and mandatory kindergarten

(increase revenue stream into public schools and drive private child-care operators out of business by stealing their client base by offering free or taxpayer-subsidized day care, even though the more time kids spend in day care, the worse they later do academically, the more angry they become, the less they are properly nurtured, the worse their health becomes, and the worse they behave in real school on down the road).

We’ll list a few more of these confounded, illogical, anti-family NEA priorities tomorrow . . . with an idea of what to do about them.

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