The National Education Association (NEA) with 2.1 million members is the most powerful force in education. Although it purports to represent the interest of teachers, many of its members are not in agreement with its policies, have limited awareness of its politics, and are naive about its power and past. William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, in The Devaluing of America, describes the NEA's policies and politics:
In recent years, the union's Representative Assembly went on record in favor of teacher strikes; school- based clinics dispensing contraceptives; a nuclear freeze; gay rights; the Equal Right Amendment; D.C. statehood; and Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis for president. It has voted against merit pay for teachers; parental choice; voluntary school prayer; state takeovers of bad schools; home schooling; English as the official language; drug, alcohol, and AIDS testing; nuclear power plants; aid to the Nicaraguan resistance; the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court; and Ronald Reagan and George Bush for president...Opposes every common-sense reform measure: competency testing for teachers, opening the teaching profession to knowledgeable individuals who have not graduated from 'schools of education,' performance-based pay, holding educators accountable for how much children learn, an end to tenure, a national examination to find out exactly how much our children know, and parental choice of schools....Thomas Toch, education correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, "In the Name of Excellence" writes:
In 1989 it [the NEA] spent $7.4 million on such things as a computerized system of mass producing letters to Congress from 300,000 NEA members who "pre-authorized" the use of their names; "Congressional Contact Teams" made up of 2 NEA members in each Congressional district who are specially trained as lobbyists and flown back and forth from Washington to promote the NEA's cause from the local level; a computerized file of NEA's entire membership; a satellite link-up between a television studio in the NEA's Washington headquarters and its state affiliates; and a full-time lobbing staff of 15.... The NEA also has been a major backer of Democratic candidates since 1976, when it played a leading role in the Carter campaign. (Carter signaled the size of the NEA's contributions to his election by pushing through Congress the law that established the U.S. Department of Education - a longtime NEA goal).The NEA's power in Iowa is of special concern. Again quoting Mr. Toch: "The NEA has sought to gain control of teacher licensing by establishing licensing boards with teacher majorities. Only Minnesota and Iowa have granted this board final authority in teacher certification." Particularly disconcerting for those of us in Iowa where an overwhelming majority of teachers are NEA members."
With the NEA in charge, the role of the teacher continues to evolve. The NEA's report, Education for the Seventies, states: "Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized psycho-social treatment for the students, and teachers must become psychosocial therapists."The NEA has encountered little resistance because so little is known of its political expediencies, and according to Mr. Toch, that's the plan. "Though the NEA has fought virtually every educational reform, it has poured millions of dollars into a public relations campaign designed to convince the nation that it is committed to the reform of the public schools, and of teaching in particular." The NEA's publication NEA Today spawns a plethora of glossy images of appreciative students and their obliging teachers, but so little content that it prompted author Samuel Blumenfeld to describe it as having been "written at the intellectual level of the National Enquirer."
No expose on the NEA would be complete without investigating its contention with evangelical Christianity. Blumenfeld in his book NEA: Trojan Horse In American Education describes the organizations long association with secular humanism:
...in 1933 John Dewey and 33 other liberal humanists drew up and signed that extraordinary document known as the Humanist Manifesto. It reflected all of the influences of science, evolution, and the new psychology which were reshaping American education... It was thus Dewey who began to fashion a new materialist religion in which humanity was venerated instead of God. This is basically the religion of Secular Humanism, and this is what has become the official religion of the United States, for it is the only religion permitted in its public schools and totally supported by government funds.... The NEA has remained remarkably faithful to the Humanist Manifesto since 1933. For all practical purposes, the public school has become the parochial school for secular humanism. Its doctrines pervade the curriculum from top to bottom.Dewey, for his contributions to education, was elected honorary president of the NEA in 1932. He was also issued the American Federation of Teachers' first membership card. With the 1973 signing of Humanistic Manifesto II, humanism became even more culturally entrenched:
As in 1933, humanist still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.... No Deity will save us; we must save ourselves.Signers of Humanist Manifesto II include Alan F. Guttmacher, president of Planned Parenthood; Betty Friedan, founder of N.O.W; behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, a horde of Unitarian ministers, and Lester Mondale, former president of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists. Such is the NEA's consanguine "fellowship."
The NEA's domination of education affects all teachers. It dictates the rules of professional advancement. It pressures teachers to be politically partisan. Its infusion of humanist curriculum places conscionable teachers in a moral dilemma. And its influence over accreditation and other policies is disconcerting for teachers public and private. In summation, the NEA's monopoly on education places teachers, and our children, at risk!
"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea" (Mark 9:42, cf. Mathew 8:16 & Luke 17:2).