Nat'l Education Assoc. low key about homosexuality task force

by John Rossomando, posted Wednesday, August 15, 2001 (17 years ago)

WASHINGTON (BP)--The National Education Association is silent about a task force that it formed to determine how to integrate homosexual themes into public school curriculums while working to "reduce and eliminate intolerance and insensitivity toward gays and lesbians in our society," according to an Aug. 15 CNSNews.com report. The NEA's "Gay and Lesbian Issues Task Force" was established at the July NEA convention for the purpose of avoiding a drawn-out debate over homosexual issues on the convention floor.

Then NEA backed off a pro-homosexuality measure known as the "New B" resolution at its convention. The draft resolution called for the development of curriculum and institutional materials along with programs designed to meet the needs of homosexual faculty members and students.

NEA spokeswoman Kathleen Lyons indicated Aug. 14 that the NEA will not talk with the press about the Gay and Lesbian Issues Task Force until the group actually produces its report in February 2002. Lyons, instead, chose to release remarks made by NEA President Bob Chase explaining the NEA position.

"[The] resolutions committee [withdrew] Resolution 'New B,' and instead [called] for the establishment of a task force to look at the issues relating to sexual orientation in a thorough and meaningful way," Chase said in the statement. "Let me be clear: in no way is the NEA backing away from the important issues raised by the resolution.

"We will not allow our policy or our discussions to be dictated by any outside group, particularly those that wish to demagogue on the issue instead of focusing on the needs and problems of these students and educational employees," he continued. "This task force will expand the scope of the inquiry.

"[The] NEA has a responsibility to our members and to our students to ensure that they teach and learn in a safe, supportive environment, and we fully intend to live up to that responsibility," Chase said.

The opposition of religious conservatives continues to raise the NEA's ire in the debate over homosexuality. The teacher's union charges that enforcing a biblical version of morality undermines the safety of public school students.

"Some critics want the public schools to be an agent of moral doctrine, condemning children and adults when they are not in accord with biblical precepts," Chase said in the statement. "We believe it is impossible to create a safe haven for children -- [making them] physically safe and emotionally secure -- while condemning their beliefs."

Religious conservatives dispute the NEA's claims that it is a neutral organization seeking what is best for America's public school students.

"The NEA is solidly behind one side of an extremely controversial issue, the homosexual debate," said Peter LaBarbera, senior policy analyst for the Culture and Family Institute. "Most parents don't think that the subject of homosexuality needs to be taught in schools.

"Parents don't want their kids fed homosexual propaganda," LaBarbera said. "They are concerned about the morality of homosexuality, and many are [also] concerned about the health effects [of homosexuality]."

Despite the NEA's desire to appear neutral, LaBarbera said the union continues to push the homosexual rights agenda.

"They are directly in the fray. In fact, the NEA [is] sponsoring the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner," LaBarbera said. The Human Rights Campaign is one of the nation's leading homosexual advocacy groups.

LaBarbera charged that the NEA does not care about whether introducing homosexuality into the public school curriculum is fair because the union is wedded to the homosexual movement.

"They are going to push it [homosexuality] in the curriculum, which means that every time that a little kid learns about Eleanor Roosevelt, they will learn that she was supposedly a lesbian. This is the kind of garbage that [will] be brought into the curriculum under the auspices of tolerance, and diversity," LaBarbera said.

"The NEA does not want to be perceived as a gay activist group, [but] that is exactly what they are and have become."


Rossomando is a staff writer with CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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