It’s Time for Conservatives to Stand Against the NEA

We here at Conservative Teachers of America stand firmly on two issues: the Federal Department of Education is a waste of money and should be eliminated and teacher unions are harmful to the educational process in American schools. Recent events regarding the behavior of the National Education Association should cause all educators and Americans to take a pause and ask themselves: What good does the NEA even provide to education?

A recent post on the Association of American Educators blog shows just how confused the NEA has become; Stranger Than Fiction: NEA Partners With WWE. No, we’re not making that up, the National Education Association has partnered with World Wrestling Entertainment. Now, here’s where things get even stranger. The reason for the partnership, is to “ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.” The WWE, the same organization that on a regular basis portrays violence, bullying, and the disrespect and belittling of women, is going to help the NEA in an anti-bullying campaign. What planet are these people from?

Rosalind Wiseman, author of the book Queen Bees, and Wannabes (highly recommend this book for any secondary educator) put together a piece on her website complete with videos that demonstrates just why this is so ludicrous. If you want to have your stomach turn, watch the video of Vince McMahon and the woman Trish. McMahon forces her to strip down to her underwear in front of a screaming crowd, tells her to get down on all fours and bark like a dog, and treats her as if she is sub-human. Ah yes, if you want to promote good values this is the organization you partner with, way to go NEA!

As if this partnership wasn’t the latest in insanity from the NEA, they decided to continue and endorse President Barack Obama 16 months before the election and months before the Republican party has even chosen a candidate. Now, we’re not fooling ourselves here, we don’t expect the NEA to endorse a conservative candidate, but it’s just amazing that they would take this step so early in the process. They have endorsed the same President that chose Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Duncan is quite possibly the most unqualified individual to have ever held this post, he has no degree in education, and never was an educator or principal a day in his life. The strange thing is that the NEA is on record as criticizing Duncan.

There is obviously something driving this behavior. We suspect it has something to do with the fact that the NEA is losing money and members at an alarming rate.

The recent NEA convention in which they endorsed President Obama was held over Independence Day weekend in Chicago. Now, call us crazy, but isn’t it odd that the NEA would have their convention on this weekend? Of course, when you consider that many devout union members are usually devout progressives politically, this shouldn’t really surprise you too much. Independence Day for them is, well, just another day, not too much different than last Wednesday or the Monday before that.

The AAE reports that the convention was a major disappointment. Only 7500 delegates were in attendance and this was the lowest amount since 1998. We’re a bit surprised at this, especially considering they had Vice-President and Gaffe King Joe Biden speak to them. Financially things are not much better, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle reported that the NEA faces a $14 million dollar shortfall and has lost 39,000 active members since 2010. (We’re going to offer a free tip to the NEA here; you’re doing something wrong when you lose money and members in such large quantities.) The NEA has decided to try and alleviate the problem and is raising the PAC portion of member dues by $10.

It’s exciting to see so many union members beginning to see the light and leave the NEA. This is a prime opportunity, and conservatives around the country need to speak out louder and larger against this organization. Do you know a teacher in your life that is an NEA member? Question them with boldness. Do they really want their money to be going to the NEA? If they don’t, consider providing them with an option.

We here at CTA are huge fans of the Association of American Educators. The AAE is a non-union teacher advocacy organization that truly helps focus on what’s important in our profession, the child! Membership in the AAE is only $15 per month and benefits include $2,000,000 in liability insurance, legal protection and employment rights coverage. The real beauty of the AAE is the liability insurance, it’s twice the NEA’s coverage, with none of the politics.

Some interesting facts about the NEA that are worth mentioning:

Not all NEA members are liberal, a survey conducted in 2005 showed 50% of members were conservative or tended conservative. This is why it’s so important for conservatives to begin to speak out against the NEA. The NEA promotes an agenda that is in contrast to what so many conservatives stand for. This is a great way to cause further financial damage to the NEA, and to marginalize their impact on our profession.

The NEA-PAC donates a disproportionate amount of money to Democrat candidates. In the 2008 election NEA-PAC gave Democratic candidates 13 times the amount of money it gave Republicans (93% Democrat/7% Republican).

The NEA has a Labor Solidarity Partnership with the AFL-CIO. The same AFL-CIO whose President is Richard Trumka. For an interesting read on Mr. Trumka, please check out the Trumka fact sheet: An Ugly History of Union Violence and Corruption.

Updated 7/13/11: Just saw this on Big Government, the NEA is now using students to raise PAC money. Sad. National Education Association Thanks Students for Raising PAC Funds



Filed under NEA, Teacher Unions

2 responses to “It’s Time for Conservatives to Stand Against the NEA

  1. There never should be a union of public teachers in America. There absolutely should never be a union so powerful that it is almost impossible to get hired without being a member of it. We can see the results of even small amounts of competition in education. Why wouldn’t people want to try even more? Teachers unions really are a holdout relic of the past. They have lasted this long because being public employees in a union gives them advantages that private unions can’t get (like little market competition, and never having to negotiate directly with their employers- the voters). They can only keep this up so long though. Americans demand results, and teachers unions simply can never provide them. Their only hope is to try to keep government officials in their pockets as long as they can.

  2. Robert Klein Engler

    Standing up against University and Union bullies.

    In 1999 I began teaching at Roosevelt University as an Adjunct Professor. I loved my job and my students, and I take great pride in the fact I had never been the target of any complaint from any student, faculty member, or administration official.

    That all changed on May 10, 2010, when during a phone call with my Department Chair Michael T. Maly he mentioned that a “harassment complaint” had been filed against me. I asked what the complaint was about. Mr. Maly said he couldn’t tell me.

    For months I practically begged Roosevelt University officials to provide me with at least some clue as to the nature of the “harassment complaint” lodged against me. I couldn’t imagine what it might be, but thought I at least had a right to know what someone was alleging.

    But for months the University ignored my pleas.

    On August 6, 2010, Mr. Maly notified me by e-mail that I was fired from the University. He claimed I wasn’t cooperating with an investigation. This was beyond absurd. For months the University stonewalled my attempts to learn even the most basic details of the allegation against me.

    It is certainly true that one side wasn’t cooperating. And that side was the University.

    On the day I was fired via an e-mail message on the basis of a “harassment complaint”–I still had no idea what the underlying “complaint” was about.

    Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education published this about my case: “How is it reasonable to expect someone to defend himself without knowing, for instance, whether he should bring in evidence that could disprove the allegation and end the case right away? For insisting on such basic rights, Engler eventually was fired by Roosevelt University.”

    Fired for telling a harmless joke in class? You gotta be kidding…

    Finally, two months after Roosevelt University fired me, and only after I hired an attorney to help me get some answers, I was for the first time advised by the University that the so-called “harassment” complaint related to one harmless joke I told in front of an entire classroom of students.

    Apparently, one student complained about a joke I told to the entire class–a joke which by the way directly related to that day’s classroom discussion. Not only was the joke harmless, we now know that the University never should have tagged the complaint as “harassment” in the first place. The University breached its duty from the very beginning by lumping me in with true harassers–simply because I told a joke of an identical kind that one could hear from Jay Leno or David Letterman five nights a week.

    I’m now asking that age old question, where do I go to get my reputation back?

    Fergus Hodgson of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy has more on my case, including the specific joke that started it all.

    Kissel sums it up perfectly, “Engler’s ordeal apparently originated with nothing more than this joke, which (like it or not) is obviously not harassment.”

    My union stood with me, right up until they threw me under the bus.

    My union representatives agreed that Roosevelt University’s firing of me in August of last year was in clear violation of multiple sections of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) union contact. In a letter dated July 6, 2010, RAFO’s grievance chair Joseph Fedorko advised Roosevelt University that “The Agreement . . . has been violated in several respects (most obviously Article 4E, but also possibly 4H and 4K and others). RAFO filed two grievances against the University on my behalf.

    For several months, I was reassured by my union representatives that things were moving along and that the union was working hard on my behalf as our contract requires. This past December my union filed a “Step 3” Grievance. Basically that’s the union saying it’s not satisfied with the employer’s response and it’s notifying the University that we’re moving to arbitration.

    So far so good. My union seemed to be standing up for me. I was very confident that any fair and neutral arbitrator would agree that I should get my job back. All we had to do was follow through on the arbitration that my union demanded (at least on paper) from the University.

    But now comes March of this year. Now my union tells me that it’s doing a complete reversal. Now that we’re finally to the point where I hope to get a fair remedy–my union decides to throw me under the bus.

    Now I’m shocked to hear my union parroting University officials, and telling me they won’t fight for my job or for my reputation. I’m expected to accept a small cash settlement offer that will do nothing to restore my job, my professional standing, or my reputation.

    For nearly a year I have remained in employment limbo as I relied in good faith on my union’s representations that they were fighting in solidarity with me for my contractual rights. The University has severely hurt my future employment prospects in academia by recklessly and falsely branding me as a “harasser.”

    The union said they were on my side–until it was time to do the serious work.

    My union talks a good game. In fact my union’s grievance chair publicly crowed about traveling to Madison, Wisconsin during the recent protests up there. Take a look at his Facebook page and you might start to think he’s the biggest champion for protecting collective bargaining rights on the face of the earth. In fact the guy’s something close to a pro-union militant, and proud of it.

    Unfortunately I’ve leaned the hard way that my union is great on the rhetoric about collective bargaining. It’s the follow through and actually doing something for their dues paying members that my union has a problem with.

    Why is my fight your fight?

    When academic freedom is squelched or threatened, every American loses.

    Robert Weissberg, emeritus professor of political science, University of Illinois-Urbana and currently an adjunct instructor at New York University Department of Politics, said this about my case in his article earlier this year entitled: Standing Up to the PC Bullies:

    “Consider what might now happen at Roosevelt University. . . . Topics like crime, teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency will vanish lest a slip of the tongue, even the wrong facial expression, brings charges of harassment. Prudent faculty might also revert to plain vanilla boring lectures and award sensitive students “A’s” as an insurance policy. Other might just pander to these groups to play it safe.”

    I ask for your support, because if it happened to me, it can happen to you.

    I’m standing up and seeking fair treatment against two powerful forces: politically correct academia, and an arrogant union establishment that long ago lost sight of its proper mission.

    For more information, contact:

    Robert Klein Engler

    Doug Ibendahl, attorney

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