Given the current woeful state of education in the United States, it would be bad enough if the unions representing its teachers did only what they claim to do — agitate for more tax dollars and less accountability.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Relying heavily on at least 40 years’ worth of member dues money confiscated without permission from millions of teachers who didn’t share their ideals or objectives, government unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have become major players in the nation’s political arena — funding almost exclusively the most liberal agenda imaginable, including many candidates and causes that have nothing whatever to do with schools.
Not content with simply being the bank that underwrites leftist political campaigns, however, the teachers’ unions now apparently want to play a more direct role when it comes to indoctrinating the next generation of radicals.
Case in point, more than 5,200 teachers have signed an active pledge to continue teaching Critical Racial Theory (CRT) to their students even if they work in one of the 26 states currently developing legislation to ban the curriculum.
The pledge, which states simply, “We, the undersigned educators, refuse to lie to young people about U.S. history and current events — regardless of the law,” is the brainchild of the Zinn Education Project, which demands American students be taught the “truth about this country — (that) it was founded on dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, structural racism and oppression; and structural racism is a defining characteristic of our society today.”
While the pledge itself is not directly a product of any teachers’ union, it’s hard to disentangle the two. The Zinn Education Project, after all, is a collaborative effort of Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools, nonprofits that have each been paid tens of thousands of dollars by the NEA over the years.
And in late June, the NEA leadership voted to allocate $127,600 to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric,” as well as to “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.”
Part of the mechanism endorsed by the NEA for defending CRT was to join with the Zinn Education Project to stage a “national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression.”
But the union didn’t stop there, approving another business item allocating $56,500 to “conduct opposition research on groups that oppose the use of critical race theory in school curricula.”
The newly adopted policy, promptly scrubbed from the union’s website, explains:
“NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked … The research, resources, and recommendations will be shared with members through NEA’s social media, an article in NEA Today, and a recorded virtual presentation/webinar.”
Translation: The nation’s largest teachers’ union will use the dues of its members to fund a self-styled police agency, not only ferreting out personal and contact information of those who dare oppose its will, but no doubt also using it to retaliate against them for doing so.
Meanwhile, Americans are being outright lied to by teachers’ union leaders, the mainstream media, and Leftist politicians when they say that critical race theory is only taught in law schools.
In fact, the pledge signed by more than 5,000 teachers across the country reveals that leftist, activist teachers know full well what they’re doing, and they’re willing to break the law to use our schools as indoctrination centers where school children are taught to hate their country and each other.
Still, many thousands of other teachers do not believe in teaching CRT and do not want their dues going to fund political agendas with which they disagree. Unfortunately, many of these are either unaware they have a right to cease supporting NEA’s advocacy with their dues or have been bullied into acquiescence.
The unquestioned role of teachers’ unions in eroding the educational standards of America’s schools, all the while picking the pockets of at least half of their own members to support a political ideology they may loathe, is reprehensible enough.
But now they want to remake our schools into revolution factories, with the nation’s taxpayers picking up the tab for it all.
It’s time to cast this serpent out of the garden of knowledge once and for all.
Jeff Rhodes is the Vice President of News and Information at the Freedom Foundation.