July 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The 3.2-million member National Education Association, the largest professionals union in the U.S., once again displayed the far-left cultural agendas that have made it anathema to conservatives at its annual convention in Boston that ended Thursday.
The agenda includes proclamations by the teachers’ union to: refuse to work with President Trump on education issues; call on Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, to resign if she does not heed NEA demands; push “transgender” ideology on students; and advocate restrictions on private charter schools.
The NEA’s more than 7,000 “Representative Assembly” delegates passed dozens of left-leaning resolutions, including one that threatens to ban ex-“gays” and creation advocates as exhibitors at next year’s convention.
For several years, an “Ex-Gay Educators” group has manned a booth at the NEA convention, becoming a tiny island of politically incorrect advocacy — including witnessing to the reality that men, women and children can leave “gay” and “transgender” lifestyles behind — in a sea of pro-LGBTQ groupthink.
That evidently irritated NEA activists, who successfully pushed for passage of the following “New Business Item (86):
For the 2018 RA, NEA will thoroughly review and evaluate RA exhibitors’ materials for information that is offensive, obscene, or in bad taste. Based on the findings of the review the NEA will enforce its standing rules 12.B (b) and 12.B (d) as they relate to exhibitors found in violation of the aforementioned rules. Because of concerns brought by 2017 RA delegates, special scrutiny will be made to the following exhibitors:
NEA Ex-Gay Educators
Creation Truth Outreach
Creation Science Educators
The NEA’s Standing Rules as referenced above are as follows:
12.B (b) “Groups external to the Association shall be permitted to use the exhibit area to distribute material or disseminate information related to the Association’s agenda, provided that such material is not contrary to or does not advocate a change in NEA policy.
12.B (d) “The Association may prohibit the distribution of any material or the dissemination of any information that is disruptive or offensive (i.e., obscene or in bad taste).”
Such rules are obviously open to subjective interpretation, although neither the Ex-Gay Educators Caucus nor creation-oriented groups were disseminating “obscene” material.
The NEA action highlights the penchant of pro-homosexual advocates to squelch dissent — most glaringly evidenced by legislative bans in several states outlawing pro-heterosexual therapies for minors — rather than to embrace an open and fair debate of ideas.
According to pro-family sources at the convention, an earlier version of the same NEA resolution that surfaced Monday read: “Be it moved that the NEA implement its own rules and regulations on “Becoming an Exhibitor” to NEA caucuses Ex-Gay Educators AND IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THE EXHIBIT ENTITLED “NEA EX-GAY EDUCATORS” from the exhibit hall on the grounds that this exhibit violates existing NEA exhibitor standards. These standards state that exhibitors may not distribute materials that are offensive, distracting, or discriminatory.”
David Pickup, a therapist who helps people overcome unwanted same-sex attractions and who is ex-“gay” himself, co-manned the Ex-Gay Educators’ booth at the NEA convention. Pickup told LifeSiteNews, “Evidently, the NEA is trying to authorize a solution of fascist actions to get rid of people with whom they disagree. They do this by denying the right of free speech while also libeling members with false claims such as reporting that therapists use electroshock and shaming boot camps to force change upon LGBT persons. “
In May, a pro-reparative therapy Task Force filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against three pro-homosexual, pro-“transgender” organizations, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The complaint charges that all three are using false information, misleading statements and gross distortions to advance “nearly two dozen bills in states across the country to take away the therapy rights of parents, and their teenagers, who voluntarily seek out professional therapy to help cope with sexual and gender identity conflicts.”
Pickup said that “since real therapy is about truth and compassion, the NEA distortions about reparative therapy and its attempt to kick us out as ex-gay advocates are prime examples of true bigotry and intolerance.”
Pro-family activist and Mission America president Linda Harvey agreed with Pickup. “The NEA, having backed Hillary Clinton and opposed school choice, has now come completely unglued with Donald Trump as president, and seems ready to launch a nationwide resistance movement. And this ‘educators’ group still applauds destructive homosexual and gender-defiant behavior among both teachers and students,” Harvey told LifeSiteNews.
“It’s time for America to face facts. This is a lavishly-funded, taxpayer-subsidized sedition movement, using our schools as its base of operations and our children as indoctrinated agents of change,” she said.
Less overt pro-abortion advocacy
A perusal of the NEA- approved 2017 resolutions indicates less open proclamations than in the past on at least two key issues: abortion and homeschooling. No resolutions explicitly promoting abortion “rights” or condemning homeschooling were passed this year. In past years, pro-lifers have protested the leftist teachers’ union over its pro-abortion advocacy.
“But that doesn’t mean the NEA is becoming pro-life or is even neutral on the issue,” warned Harvey, who cited the NEA’s longstanding support for abortion “rights” and opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade.
In 2015, homeschool parents were outraged at an NEA resolution that began “The National Education Association believes that homeschooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”
Searches on the NEA 2017 resolution database found no entries for “homeschooling” and no abortion-related items for “reproductive rights” or “reproductive freedom,” both standard euphemisms for advocates of abortion on demand.
Interestingly, the entry for the NEA in Wikipedia — a reliably liberal source — reports that the teachers organization was “originally on the conservative side of U.S. politics.” However, by the 1970s it “emerged as a factor in modern liberalism,” according to the site.
As usual, this year conservative viewpoints were sorely lacking as the NEA delegates stepped up their pro-LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) advocacy and attacks on Donald Trump.
NEA president won’t work with Trump
The NEA’s open hostility to the Trump presidency was voiced forcefully by its president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, who slammed the White House as “cruel” and honed in on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for alleged refusing to protect “transgender” students. It was an odd accusation to make considering that DeVos recently appointed an open lesbian and LGBT advocate, Candace Jackson, to the department’s Office of Civil Rights.
As LifeSiteNews reported, Jackson promptly offered legal guidance to schools pledging to combat discrimination based on “gender identity,” largely echoing liberal policy positions, albeit with less zealousness than the Obama administration.
In her NEA convention speech, Eskelsen Garcia said she turned down a request from DeVos for a meeting until the latter answered her questions — which were, she claimed, similar to those that DeVos refused to provide at her confirmation hearing.
Eskelsen Garcia said she sent a “true or false” letter to DeVos with several pointed questions, including, “Will you protect all our blessed students from discrimination … [including] our LGBT students- yes or no?” DeVos did not answer the letter.
“But in a profoundly disturbing way, we've already received those answers, haven't we?” the NEA chief told the NEA delegates. Eskelsen Garcia has a son who identifies as “gay” and is homosexually “married.”
“One of the first acts of the Trump-DeVos administration was to rescind that letter from the Office of Civil Rights — that letter that the Obama administration sent to school districts everywhere, clearly stating that they would be held legally responsible for protecting our transgendered students from discrimination,” she said. “This administration gave a green light to the despicable, intentional, institutional humiliation of a vulnerable population of students. So her [DeVos'] answer is no. No, she will not protect all our students.
Eskelsen Garcia said she occasionally hears from NEA delegates and friends who tell her that “the election is over and we must find ways to cooperate with this administration.”
But then she said, with her voice rising in a passionate appeal: “So let me tell you as clearly as I possibly can, so even if you disagree with me, you will understand what's in my heart: I will not allow the National Education Association to be used by Donald Trump or by Betsy DeVos. I do not trust their motives. I do not believe their alternative facts.
“I see no reason to assume they will do in our children's best interests or their families'. There will be no photo op,” Eskelsen Garcia shouted, as the NEA delegates applauded in a standing ovation.
“We will find common ground with many Republicans and many Democrats on many issues,” she said. “We will not find common ground with an administration that is cruel and callous to our children and their families. And I don't just judge them by their words; I judge them by their actions.”
But pro-family advocate Diane Gramley says Trump is not the problem, telling LifeSiteNews that the NEA’s ongoing leftist ideology — as represented by its many “progressive” resolutions — helps explain America’s public education crisis.
“I read through the first 100 or so and determined the NEA should not be allowed near children,” said Gramley, president of American Family Association of Pennsylvania. “And Americans are wondering why there are so many liberal snowflakes out there! They need to take a look at the NEA and our public education system to get the answer.”
NEA liberalism on display
The following left-leaning NEA official resolutions are among those passed by NEA delegates at the 2017 convention (bolded sub-headlines added by LifeSiteNews):
“The NEA will continue to advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) students and educators by taking the following actions to counter the continuing backlash against LGBTQ individuals:
1. Call upon our members and society to promote a culture of safety, support, and affirmation that ensures civil rights and advocacy for LGBTQ members and students, including adopting policies that respect the civil rights of all educators and students, inclusive of transgender students and educators.
2. Provide tools for affiliates and members to use at the state and local level to gain or secure protections for LGBTQ individuals at work and in schools.
3. Convene periodic webinars for state and local affiliates and members (in the fall, winter, and spring) to provide updates as to the current status of state and local protections as well as models for actions that can be taken at the state and local level to increase protections.
4. Provide legislative support and resources to state affiliates and tools for local affiliates to use in advocating for increased LGBTQ protections.
5. Continue to actively participate in the legal efforts to secure full civil rights for LGBTQ individuals by filing amicus curiae briefs in support of challenges to anti-LGBTQ legislative and policy initiatives and in support of ensuring full civil rights protections for LGBTQ individuals.
6. Evaluate eliminating states and cities as acceptable locations for future NEA meetings if the state or city adopts a law or ordinance that licenses discrimination against students and educators based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” (Item 3)
Urge non-cooperation with ICE on illegal immigration
“The NEA will oppose deportations and state that public school staff should decline cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials or any official seeking immigration information … (Item 18)
Track ‘homophobia,’ ‘transphobia’ and ‘Islamophobia’
“In partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, ACLU, GLSEN, National Center for Trans-Equality Human Rights Campaign, and any other legal and human rights groups of related concerns, NEA will track incidents of discrimination, racism, homophobia, and transphobia, as well as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of religious discrimination, and bigotry in our public schools. The data will be shared with districts to educate and eradicate hate through the development of programs that include, but are not limited to, training on unconscious bias, culturally responsive instruction, and the anti-defamation league.” (Item 30)
Gender confusion ‘inclusion’
“NEA shall, using existing digital media, encourage state and local affiliates to foster school environments that affirm the gender diversity of students by using valid and existing resources such as Gender Spectrum’s guide called the “Gender Inclusive Schools Toolkit.” (Item 55)
“Racist” standardized testing?
“Publish an article in NEA Today on the racist origins of standardized testing … ” (Item 78)
Oppose Trump's travel ban
“The NEA will publicize our opposition to the travel ban imposed by the current presidential administration, and will join with other organizations in actions to defeat it.” (Item 62)
Condemn Trump on “climate change”
“The NEA will publicize through existing publications the Trump administration’s efforts to conceal, subvert, or change scientific information and data from public websites including information used by educators to teach about climate change and climate justice.” (Item 68)
“The NEA shall provide direct organizing support to locals and state affiliates who form or expand Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), community tables, and coalitions to defeat any voucher plan … ” (Item 79)
“NEA will develop an online toolkit to assist communities and educators in combating the insidious hate speech and actions of white supremacists, nationalists, and the so-called 'Alt-Right.' The toolkit will identify the groups behind the propaganda and provide counter-messaging and techniques to help protect our students, our educators, and our communities.” (Item 46)
“NEA will develop and promote resolutions that local associations can introduce at school board meetings calling for countywide and statewide moratoria on new charter school authorizations in every state that has legislation authorizing the creation of charter schools.” (Item 47)
More LGBTQ activism
“NEA shall, using existing digital media, support LGBTQ and youth by encouraging state and local affiliates to use valid and existing resources such as the booklet from GLSEN called “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel” (Item 49)
Lobby for single-payer nationalized healthcare
“NEA will provide a platform to state and local affiliates to create a grassroots movement to demand the U.S. Congress develop a universal health care system for all. This can be done by tweeting, calling, and messaging their representatives over the coming year. NEA will utilize existing resources and draw upon its membership with organizations such as Labor Campaign 4 Single-Payer (LC4SP).” (Item 42)
Sanctuary cities, sanctuary schools
“The NEA supports sanctuary cities and schools and opposes any attacks and attempts to penalize and prohibit such sanctuaries. The NEA will publicize a program of support to help schools institute sanctuary programs for undocumented students and their families. Wherever possible, NEA members and local associations will take an active role in helping to create and defend sanctuary efforts.” (Item 94)
Against pro-voucher PBS documentary
“I move that the NEA adopt an official position of objection to the ‘documentary’ called School, Inc., a three-hour program which aired in installments on PBS in June of 2017 and was funded by a foundation known to support vouchers and allied with Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation … ” (Item 113)
Replace ‘teacher’ with ‘educator’
“In order to more accurately represent our diverse membership, we request a review of NEA’s Constitution, Bylaws, Standing Rules, Policy Statements, and Resolutions to search for the words ‘teacher’ and ‘classroom teacher’ in order to replace those words with the more inclusive term of ‘educator,’ where appropriate … ” (Item 115)
More climate change advocacy
“NEA shall, using existing research, resources such as National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and digital resources within NEA Today, create and distribute digitally an article delineating climate change as an evidence-based scientifically proven occurrence that is detrimental to our planet … ” (Item 123)