Skip to main content
Home2012 Articles2011 Articles2010 Articles2009 Articles2008 Articles2007 Articles
 2009 Articles 
Sunday, July 19 2009

It was indeed a heartwarming moment.  With teachers, representatives, and affiliates to the National Education Association's annual convention gathered around, the NEA's retiring General Counsel Bob Chanin took to the stage to deliver his outgoing remarks.  His inspiring and uplifting message asserted the profound commitment held by the NEA to the betterment of American society: "We are not paranoid, someone really is after us.  Why are these conservative and right-wing b****rds picking on NEA and its affiliates?  I will tell you why: it is the price we pay for success."


As one of those right-wing "fatherless lads" Mr. Chanin was referring to, I found myself moved at how open-minded and inclusive his speech sounded.  But more than that, Chanin did a masterful job of demonstrating what the true priorities of the NEA are when he stated that what makes the group effective is, "not because of our creative ideas, it is not because of the merit of our positions, it is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.  NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power."


Now there's a relief.  Perhaps the NEA should put that quote on its promotional fliers?  After all, who would want the largest association representing teachers in the country to be basing its effectiveness on its ability to improve the lives of children?!  Thankfully, the leadership of the NEA has sought a pursuit of raw political power instead.  And why are they so successful in this pursuit?  Mr. Chanin explains, "And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year."  Keep in mind that many of those 3.2 million are faithful Christian teachers who seem to turn Mr. Chanin's stomach.


Not that any of this should come as a surprise.  In 1996, the NEA issued a handbook on dealing with the "radical right's crusade against public schools."  The handbook states, "They won't go away.  No matter how bizarre we believe their beliefs to be, no matter how illogical and inconsistent their goals appear, and no matter how often we reassure ourselves that 'this too, shall pass,' the political, social, and religious forces that make up the radical right in contemporary American society will not go away."  For teachers who hold to traditional moral values, we're just to look the other way and continue sending our money.


Sadly, the pathetic reality of the current state of affairs in the National Education Association gets worse.  At this same convention in San Diego, the NEA voted to throw their full support behind homosexual "marriage" by committing to use its resources and political muscle to take down any legislation that hinders the homosexual movement.


Also, the NEA voted down a resolution that called for the group to take "no position" on the issue of abortion.  Currently, the NEA uses the dues money from members to advocate and support lobby groups battling for the "right to choose."  Had this resolution passed, the NEA would have been unable to commit any dues money of members to causes that have anything to do with the abortion debate.  Instead, they would have had to use that money on something issues actually pertaining to education.


To me, this year marks the line in the sand.  There are many justifications and reasons an individual Christian teacher can give for joining a local association.  But because of the power of the NEA in Washington, we can't deny the reality that our local associations are in many cases legally compelled to affiliate themselves under the NEA's control.  Consequently our money - money we intend to be put towards actually improving the lives of children - goes to fund deliberately anti-Christian activities.


Sure, there are excuses we can use to justify our capitulation and spineless allegiance to causes we know to be wrong.  We can accept the fear-mongering about how we'll all lose our jobs without the NEA.  We can delude ourselves into believing that when we check the box stating that our dues can't be used for political purposes that we aren't still contributing to the very executive councils, legal offices, and management that is publicly acknowledging their hatred towards everything we stand for.  We can rationalize that it's impossible anymore to keep from spending our money on things we don't really support.


But we shouldn't do it any longer.  Our consciences shouldn't allow it. 


We will undoubtedly be told that we are traitors to the cause, overreacting prudes, or freeloaders.  But we didn't tell the NEA to throw full support behind the slaughter of children in the womb.  We didn't tell the NEA to use their muscle to advocate homosexual marriage across the country.  We didn't make the decision to abandon the NEA.  The NEA made the conscious decision to abandon us.  And if there's any confusion on that fact, see Bob Chanin.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 06:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  13 Comments  |  Email
Peter, you and I must've "mind-melded" on this one: Great post!
Posted by Rick Garner on 07/19/2009 21:14:37
Peter: Great article! I did not pursue a teaching job here in MA after graduating from college in the late 1970s. I spent countless hours debating my professors on their philosophy of education, which was based on secular humanism (Thomas Dewey signed the Humanist Manifesto I). I recommend Samuel Blumenfeld's book, "NEA: Trojan Horse In American Education," which was published in the early 1980s. At the time, there were few Christian schools to turn to, so I continued working at a local country club before joining the family business. I have passed your article along to several teacher friends of mine.
Posted by Rob Kirschner on 07/20/2009 15:57:25
Your article should be mandatory reading for all teachers. Only a large group effort can change the direction of NEA. I'm a retired teacher who broke all ties with NEA years ago. Unfortunately, during my time as an active teacher, we were not allowed to join our state or local teachers' associations if we didn't join NEA. This coercion inflated the NEA numbers but did nothing to help children or local teachers. Such requirements need to be eliminated.
Posted by Patricia Bridgewater on 07/20/2009 19:35:20
There are at least 2 other teachers' associations that will provide teachers with some legal counsel, support, and liability insurance. They are the Association of American Teachers and Christian Educators' Association International. I am joining both of them. Be sure and pass the word that other teachers who want out of the NEA can join them. Also, I have found out that if you are not in a right to work state, you can get out of the NEA under a conscience clause and just pay for your portion for local association fees and bargaining costs. I think you can be a member of the organization if you are a retired teacher as well. You might help to build up these organizations and recruit teachers out of the NEA.
Posted by Barbara Gordon on 07/20/2009 22:19:24
I attended the past 2 Rep Assemblies of NEA. Decisions are made primarily on a voice vote, with a standing count if the voice vote is close (called "Division") I have been told that the make up of NEA (before your column) is 60% Democrat and 40% Republican (which I tend to rename "Conservative Values". If more teachers having conservative values told their local group that they would like to go this year, since the previous people have gone so many times in the past (and gotten the majority of the trip paid by the organization) and it is time for new people to go, the Voice Vote would very likely change the course of the NEA --- and the donations for President and other political positions would likewise be reflected. I
Posted by Rosemarie Kleber on 07/20/2009 22:19:34
I witnessed the dialog and the close vote. The issues you presented and others were met with significant resistance and debate. But there simply were not enough to hold back the tide. Instead of bailing out, I propose we take back our voice and use it effectively instead of letting others who have "alternative values" promote themselves as though we are behind them - all because we don't speak up.
Posted by Rosemarie Kleber on 07/20/2009 22:22:41
If I may expand on this issue. This is what is going on in public education as a whole. There has been a systematic take over by the left, as Rob pointed out. We need to break the monopoly of government-ran schools by supporting private education. I know this is going to sound self-serving, but we must get parents and local communities in charge of education. I would love to rehash the discussion we had on Pete's previous forum page. There are a lot of advantages of smaller schools over the current consolidation movement of the past several decades. We must stop focusing on what's best for teachers and administrators if it's not best for the student. The focus is on teaching instead of learning.
Posted by vcamatt on 07/21/2009 09:37:23
For instance, the school's funding shouldn't be tied to an increase in graduation rates. This forces administrators to dumb down standards in order to insure they do not lose any money. Also, schools ought to be able to hire teachers that have worked in the private sector, and fire teachers that are no longer effective, even if they have tenure.
Posted by vcamatt on 07/21/2009 09:43:09
All teachers who oppose the NEA's practice of funding anti-family political agendas with their union dues should check out the Association of American Educators (AAE) where they can get liability protection, legal services, and professional support without the objectionable politics. See AAE's website at RELIGIOUS OBJECTOR RIGHTS: Teachers who work in mandatory union fee states have the constitutional right to request religious objector status and send their union dues to a charity. They can contact the AAE through the website at or by calling 800-704-7799 for more information.
Posted by Cindy Omlin on 07/22/2009 16:25:37
After spending several years homeschooling my own children, I am once again applying for a public school teaching position. When I was teaching twenty years ago, I withstood the pressure and refused to join the NEA. Now if anyone tries to pressure me, I will simply hand them a copy of your excellent article as explanation.
Posted by Lynne Taylor on 07/23/2009 16:11:14
I have been looking for an independent teachers' union for several years now, and I am very glad to learn of the organizations mentioned in the above comments. My own local union has become increasingly socially liberal, and I no longer want to support it.
Posted by Bruce Boyer on 07/25/2009 12:12:17
This is an all too true and disturbing article. Thank you for writing it. As an educational paraprofessional, I would like to discover an independent union that would give me liability insurance and maybe other legal protection. Does anyone know of such a union for paraprofessionals working in the public school system? It would be much appreciated.
Posted by Elizabeth Burke on 07/31/2009 23:05:19
I just answered my own question about an independent union that would enroll me as a paraprofessional educator and offer liability insurance and legal protections. Today I joined the American Association of Educators. It is not a union, but a national nonprofit professional association that is open to any employee of an educational entity. Their webisite is I'm especially pleased with The AAE "Code of Ethics"
Posted by Elizabeth Burke on 08/03/2009 15:53:48

Post comment
Email Address

(max 750 characters)
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.

    common sense makes a comeback
    site designed by Keith Parker   --  sign up for Peter Heck Mailing List here