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Are Teachers’ Unions Un-American? By: Lawrence Sand
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Thomas Jefferson once said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."  In 2008 his words are more than an apt description of the relationship that many of our nation’s educators have with the teachers’ unions.  The fact that public school teachers in most states have no choice but to pay tribute in the form of dues to the unions is certainly tyrannical and therefore un-American.

The California Teachers Association (CTA), the state affiliate of the nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association (NEA), frequently backs controversial measures which many of their members, as well as mainstream America, do not support.  The CTA has recently been active in such areas as the promotion of same sex marriage and advocating that Communists be allowed back in the classroom to teach our children. At the same time, the union is fighting the passage of SB 1105, which would get rid of teachers who have committed a misdemeanor sexual offense. The unions never bother to ask their membership for input on whether or not they back such controversial measures, but agree or not, teachers must fork over their money to the union.

Held in Washington this July, the yearly NEA convention saw the usual dazzling display of nonsense, silly at best, un-American at worst.  While in loopy mode, the organization’s “representative” assembly (whose members are elected in a rather arcane way and as such, essentially represent themselves) found themselves debating whether or not to recognize Norwegian Constitution Day.  Never mind that our fourth graders’ math scores are lower than those in Lithuania, high school dropout rates are soaring and so many of those who do make it to college need remediation.  And they call themselves the National Education Association!

Tiring of the inane, the NEA gets down to serious business - attacking our foreign policy and slurring the brave men and women in our armed forces.  There is a movement within the NEA to establish a peace academy, while other unionistas are trying to drive popular Junior ROTC programs from our nation’s campuses.  Also, Congress will be receiving a nastygram from the NEA, imploring them to rein in our war effort in Iraq.  The subtext here is clear – that if only the U.S. weren’t so belligerent, the world would exist in eternal bliss. And of course the NEA couldn’t promote such blatant anti-American blather without the money that it takes from hard working teachers.

In-state tuition rates for illegals?  It exists in several states now and the NEA will be lobbying hard to ensure that this becomes a national phenomenon.  This means that a student who illegally crosses the border will pay less for a college education than an American student who crosses state lines for the same purpose.  Patriotic values seem to be non-existent at the NEA.

Last February, outgoing NEA president, Reg Weaver told The Hill that his organization planned to spend $40-$50 million on candidates who will advance the NEA agenda (loosely translated – liberal/left Democrats) in the 2008 election.  Republicans will get a very tiny fraction of this money.  No matter that about one-third of the NEA rank-and-file is Republican.  The union will take their forced dues and give them to Democrats.

Veering from the union party line can easily incur the wrath of the apparachiks. Speaking at the recent convention, Barack Obama was booed when he suggested that a merit pay system may be worth a try.  Once again, the NEA collectivists showed that anything smacking of individualism, competition and capitalism, all well-established American values, is foreign to them.

Hence, we have a despotic union that forcibly takes money from teachers and spends it on an agenda that runs counter to the values of many of them as well as those of the American mainstream.  I strongly suspect that if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he would be firing off impassioned emails with the Declaration of Independence attached in an attempt to inspire and energize teachers and all fair minded Americans.  There is a sinister oppressor in our midst and the consent of the governed is nowhere to be found.

Lawrence Sand is a veteran teacher in Los Angeles. He is also the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, an organization dedicated to getting information to teachers that they typically do not get from their school districts or their unions.


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