When the Arizona state legislature began cutting funding to education, I met with the union (the AEA, the affiliate of the NEA) and helped pass out fliers urging voters to speak out. When they passed anti-teacher legislation, I wore red and joined the protests. I blogged about it. I tweeted about it. I talked to neighbors about it. I believed, at the time, that the NEA had some teeth and that I was part of a beast that was biting back.
I later realized that the beast had been awakened, but it had also been defanged. I watched as the group that supposedly represents teachers chose Obama over Clinton, despite a clearly pro-corporate educational policy in Obama’s campaign rhetoric. I watched Obama articulate a vision of teachers that sounded much more positive (we’re nation-builders, after all) while pushing a policy that reduced local autonomy, teacher’s rights and professional autonomy.
I get it. Millions of people were duped by the charming and charismatic hope-change marketing campaign. However, NEA still supports Obama, despite his praise of the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School.
It would seem that the current Federal policies, along with the transnational educational conglomerates (testing, textbook, consulting companies) might be the biggest threat to public education right now. However, instead of articulating a pro-teacher, pro-parent, pro-child vision, the NEA creates a straw man villain out of home schooling.
Section B-81 of their Resolutions states, “The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. “
I will not be a member of a group that doesn’t stand up for teachers. I will not be a member of a group that is too afraid to stand up to a president with failing, unjust policies. I will not be a member of a group that does not mobilize against the corporate take-over of a public institution. I will not be a member of a group that vilifies parents who opt out of the standardized, factory system that many teachers also see as the enemy.