NEA still pushing liberal ideology
WASHINGTON (BP)--Leaders of the National Education Association continue to advance a liberal political ideology that includes support of the homosexual agenda, as evidenced by news items surrounding the group's annual meeting in Washington.
About 9,000 delegates from the 3.2 million-member teachers' union are convening in the nation's capital July 1-6.
Prior to the meeting, NEA members in California received an invitation to attend an event called "Honor Our Past, Empower Our Future: A 30th Anniversary Celebration of Defeating the Antigay Briggs Initiative." The event was sponsored by the California Teachers Association (an NEA affiliate) and Planned Parenthood, among others.
"Celebrate a key anniversary of victory and a historic year for LGBT equality," the invitation said, adding that proceeds from the reception -- $50 per general admission ticket -- would help fight "November's anti-marriage proposition" and would benefit a group working toward "electing progressive allies and fighting discriminatory propositions." (LGBT is an acronym for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.") A proposed constitutional marriage amendment will be on the California ballot this fall and, if passed, would reverse the state high court's decision legalizing "gay marriage." The amendment states, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The invitation to the June 22 event in Los Angeles also included a letter from Bob Farran, identified as an educator, labor activist and former Los Angeles County Democratic party chair. He noted that in 1978 the Briggs Initiative appeared on California ballots as Proposition 6.
"Sponsored by a far-right state senator and a group of religious extremists, it would have required the firing of any teacher or faculty member suspected of being gay. It aimed to renew the McCarthy era of rumors, witch-hunting and discrimination that we had only recently overcome," Farran wrote. "... The good news is that Californians ultimately rejected the measure, by a margin of about 4 to 3. The bad news is the ghosts of '78 are stirring again."
NEA's ongoing support of the homosexual agenda is evident on their website, where a National Summit on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Education is advertised. The event, to be held in Chicago July 17-18, is sponsored by NEA.
"We must do more to close the achievement gap. We must ensure that every child is learning and succeeding in school, regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation," Reg Weaver, outgoing president of the nation's largest teachers' union, said on the promotional page.
The webpage cited statistics from a 2005 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which claimed more than one-third (37.8 percent) of students experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation. It is estimated that roughly 2 percent of the population is homosexual or lesbian.
"Unfortunately, safety can be an issue for children and teens who are seen as different because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," the webpage says. "From the earliest grades, students routinely use homophobic language, and verbal taunts often escalate to physical confrontations.... NEA is committed to reversing these trends and addressing the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students."
Also available on the NEA website is a School Employee's Guide to GLBT Issues, which "was developed to help Association members and staff who may confront issues involving gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students or colleagues, or who may encounter bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity."
The Hill, a congressional newspaper, reported earlier this year that NEA "has revamped its political department and is planning the most ambitious election efforts in its history." NEA, the newspaper said, planned to spend $40 million to $50 million on presidential, gubernatorial, congressional and Senate races in 2008 "and is already considering attacks against the presumptive GOP presidential nominee."
Weaver, the association's president, told The Hill NEA plans to be very aggressive, targeting specific House and Senate races and working to strengthen its political impact.
Part of the revamp included hiring Karen White, the former political director of the pro-choice EMILY's List, as the head of NEA's new Campaigns and Elections division, The Hill said. EMILY's List seeks to "win elections to turn back the Bush Republicans and their right-wing agenda" and to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office, according to the group's mission statement.
Among the ideas White brought to NEA was a technique called microtargeting, which the teachers' association used last year in Kentucky to help Democrat Steve Beshear defeat the incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher. The Hill said 83 percent of the state's NEA members showed up at the polls to vote for Beshear.
"The group spent about $15 million in races last year in Kentucky, Washington and Utah, joining forces in some instances with other labor unions like the AFL-CIO," The Hill reported. "The issue that has most energized the group's membership and drawn alliances with other unions is No Child Left Behind, an anathema to the teachers' union."
At the beginning of their July 1-6 Washington meeting NEA unveiled a plan which seeks to reverse the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind policies. The plan drew praise from Sen. Barack Obama, the candidate NEA is expected to endorse for president.
Weaver told the newspaper NEA would run aggressive contrast campaigns against Sen. John McCain in key states as the presidential election approaches.
"The NEA leadership has abused its mandate and used teachers' dues to subsidize its liberal ideology, which includes everything from promoting homosexuality and same-sex marriage to contraception in schools and abortion on request," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, wrote in his Washington Update e-mail.
FRC hosted pro-life NEA members, delegates and other groups to protest the NEA's pro-choice policies at a press conference July 2 at the family organization's Washington headquarters. They also gathered outside the NEA meeting to remind the teachers' union that "the reason for its existence is the collective bargaining power of its members," Perkins said.
"It is not the job of the NEA to issue mandates on social and moral issues. To do so is a misuse of members' dues and a misrepresentation of teachers' views," Perkins wrote.
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.