Back in 1981, when the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) lead the nation's air traffic controllers out on strike, the then-Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis not only fired the striking controllers, but took action to decertify PATCO for having jeopardized public safety.
While the National Education Association (NEA) may not pose the same immediate threat to public safety, their stubborn refusal to address the real problems of education and their persistent obsession with diversity corrupts public education nationwide. A story posted on National Vanguard addresses this issue.
On June 6th the National Education Association wrapped up its annual meeting having approved its most aggressive measures to date in support of the homosexual agenda. The union overwhelmingly passed a resolution endorsing homosexual "marriages" and adoptions in states where they are already legal. The resolution was a watered-down version of an earlier one that would have endorsed same-sex "marriages" everywhere. However, the clear-cut intent is to mainstream homosexuality.
One of the recommendations is for "gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues be required content for teacher credentialing. Teachers would be forced to undergo sensitivity training concerning homosexuality before they could be certified to teach. The resolution recommends that "NEA advocate for the inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues in the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) teacher education program review process." The NEA has already contacted NCATE about this.
NEA also voted to replace the word "tolerance" toward homosexuality with "acceptance and respect" in union policies. The rationale for the change was given by the resolution's author, Phil Rumore. His reasoning is classic political correctness: "Words not only describe reality and behavior, they shape it. 'Tolerance' implies 'putting up with' (a disapproval of others) and is wrong when used in relation to how we should relate to others. We should teach acceptance and respect not tolerance of those who are different from us wherever appropriate."
North Dakota teacher Mark Berntson attempted to amend the item, suggesting that the word, “acceptance” be changed to “sensitivity", since the term "acceptance" may have a coercive implication for those who might have serious disagreement with some ideologies held by diverse populations. In contrast, sensitivity should be extended to anyone, no matter what their position or belief, he said. However, NEA President Reg Weaver promptly scuttled further debate on Berntson's amendment by asking the body to close debate on it, which the delegates promptly voted to do. Phil Rumore's language was accepted by a wide margin, much to the jubilation of former NEA President Bob Chase, who was highly instrumental in bringing homosexuals into NEA leadership positions.
Finally, the NEA's delegates appallingly refused to pass an amendment designed to protect students against sexual misconduct by teachers. The amendment read "To protect the rights of all students, the Association believes sexual contact between education professionals and minor students is unacceptable." Instead, in another "stampeded" vote, the delegates referred the proposal to the Resolutions Committee, preventing a vote to adopt or reject for the second year in a row.
The willingness of the NEA to force a particular ideology on teachers in the name of "tolerance" and as a condition of certification makes this union unfit to represent teachers. Certification should depend upon competence rather than personal ideology. The NEA goes beyond merely asking teachers to treat gay students professionally and asks teachers to celebrate their homosexuality. The failure of the NEA to pass an amendment designed to protect students against sexual misconduct by teachers is the final straw and warrants government intervention to formally decertify this union. It makes a mockery of laws barring registered sex offenders from living within a given distance from a school or accessing schools when children are present. It severely undermines other efforts by many school officials to protect students against this sort of misconduct.
There is currently an alternative for teachers who are tired of NEA political turmoil. The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national non-union professional teacher association, offering educators an alternative to partisan politics and non-educational agendas of the teacher labor unions. They actively support the nonsectarian character education so desperately needed in our school system today. I urge teachers to review their endorsed character education alternatives and their organizational code of ethics. A mass resignation from the NEA might get the NEA's attention.
While the Anchorage Education Association (AEA), which is the Anchorage branch of NEA-Alaska, is thankfully not preoccupied with mandating the celebration of homosexuality by teachers, its members, instead of focusing on the upcoming school year, are instead obsessing with financial issues. AEA members will be taking a strike vote on August 23rd (see full story on the KTUU website), one day after school officially starts. Teachers are required by state law to report to the first day of classes on August 22nd, and they must also give the district 72 hours’ notice if they plan to strike.
Here's an excerpt of the union's concerns posted on the Anchorage Education Association's website:
By a margin of more than 2 to 1, members rejected the tentative agreement for a new contract. The three-year agreement would have succeeded the current one-year contract, which expired on June 30th.
The agreement was hammered out on May 19th, just minutes before the All-Member Meeting at the Egan Center. Highlights of that agreement were salary increases of 3%, 2.5%, and 2.5%; step & lane movement; $1,000 in-lieu-of-step for veteran teachers who hold a master’s degree and are topped out in their salary column; increases in health insurance payments from the district; one additional personal leave day; additional ½ hour of planning time for elementary teachers in Year 3.
Younger teachers spoke of the need for an income that would allow them to stay in Anchorage and raise a family. Rising gas and utility prices are eating into take-home pay and often put home ownership out of reach. And uncertainties over health insurance premium increases in Years 2 and 3 raise fears that any salary gains would be offset by insurance and other cost of living increases.
Veteran members spoke of the lean years during the 1990s, when teachers did their part by accepting freezes and flat contracts. “The understanding was that when the economic outlook improved, we would make up some ground and at least be able to catch up & keep up with inflation,” said former AEA leader Rich Kronberg.
“This year the state has seen historically high oil revenues, and ASD has gotten its fair share of those riches. In light of this, our members told us they would not accept what they termed a ‘lackluster’ agreement", Kronberg continued.
In response, Eric Tollefson (pictured at left), the Anchorage School District's (ASD) chief negotiator, says they are trying to meet teachers’ demands any way they can. However, teachers need to be flexible, too. “We’ve offered 3 percent on the salary schedule. In addition to the 3 percent, they get step movement, they get educational attainment. So that’s as much or more than any district in the state has settled for,” said Tollefson. See more information about the proposed contract on the Anchorage School District's website. Also see an ASD point paper summarizing how and why operating costs are rising.
However, teachers need to understand that many workers in different professions are finding their salary increases, if they get any, also eaten up by increasing health insurance costs and other inflationary rises. If the teachers get enough of a raise to exceed the cost of living, it will further fuel inflationary rises.
Teachers also need to understand that public support for the school district can be fickle. School bonds are usually the hardest sell on the ballot; rejection rate is close to 50%. What good would it do for the teachers to get a fat contract only to have a tax and inflation-weary community get revenge at the ballot box by reflexively shooting down the next five school bonds? If teachers want more salary, they must consider taking more responsibility for their health insurance, or vice versa. If they walk into negotiations with a Bolshevik-style "take-no-prisoners" mentality, it will backfire. A "lackluster" agreement may be better than no agreement, no job, and NO PAY.
Tags: politics , brrreeeport , education , Alaska , labor , homosexuality