The National Education Association is America's extremely dominant teachers' union with well over 3 million members. Republican and Democrat, Christian and Non-Christian teachers alike pay their NEA dues either because they believe in what the NEA does or because they see no other real choice. Yet, the NEA is anything but shy about its extreme left-winged agenda and its hatred of pro-family values. A multitude of Christian educators would love to get out of the NEA, but the path away from this powerful political organization is not necessarily smooth or clearly marked.
Contrary to what some people may believe, the NEA's goal is not to do what's best for children. The purpose of the teacher's union is to benefit its members. The NEA is also a well-financed tool to promote liberal politics, even politics that have absolutely nothing to do with education.
NEA's retiring General Counsel Bob Chanin offered telling remarks at the National Education Association's annual convention in early July. In a speech that can be watched on YouTube, Chanin told a large crowd of adoring NEA members that the NEA and its affiliates' first goal is not to close achievement gaps or reduce dropout rates or improve teacher quality.
These things are not "unimportant or inappropriate," Chanin said, "…but they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay. When all is said and done, NEA and its affiliates must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions, and what unions do first and foremost is represent their members."Because the NEA's goal is to benefit teachers and not students, NEA-associated teachers' unions will protect and defend even bad teachers to prevent them from being fired. If principals want to clean up their failing schools and get the best teachers out there, they can face a hard time getting rid of lousy or incompetent teachers who happen to be tenured. It can cost school districts tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation costs just to fire one teacher.
The NEA is also extremely bold about its leftist politics.
In Chanin's speech, he spoke openly against the American conservatives who disagreed with his politics, saying,
"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 though anybody could "pick on" the goliath-sized 3.2 million member teachers' union.
While only 45 percent of public school teachers register as Democrats, a full 93 percent of NEA donations to political action committees and officers went to Democrats between 1990 and 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost 10 percent of the NEA's total $352,958,087 in receipts in 2007 went to political activities and lobbying, primarily for liberal causes. Another $80.6 million went as "contributions, gifts, and grants" to left wing causes, including ones that had nothing to do with education, like stopping social security reform.
The teachers' union is not just politically unbalanced, but it heavily promotes causes that Christians consider immoral. For instance, the NEA has aggressively advanced the homosexual agenda and abortion. This year the NEA voted against remaining neutral on the abortion issue, and has historically promoted abortion rights. The NEA has also strongly supported gay marriage and gay and lesbian education in the schools. The Gay and Lesbian Issues Caucus is one of the largest groups influencing NEA policy, and the NEA has strongly opposed the idea that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation.
Many teachers feel they are stuck paying dues to the NEA, whether they want to or not. Others are afraid that they will endanger their jobs if they try to leave the union. There are a number of approaches that teachers can take to deal with the grossly political, often immoral agenda of the NEA.
Call Local Representatives: The NEA is supposed to represent teachers, which means teachers should have some clout when it comes to NEA decisions. NEA member teachers can contact their representatives and make their voices heard on significant issues. The more involvement by more conservative teachers, the better.
Leave: The NEA has the power it does because it receives over $350 million in dues every year from teachers, whether or not they agree with the association's politics. There are ways for teachers to avoid giving money to the NEA:
In Right To Work states, no teacher can be forced to join a union, and teachers do not have to pay any fees to teachers' unions at all. In other states, teachers may still be required to pay an "agency fee" for union representation in case of a lawsuit, but they do not have to contribute to a union's direct political giving. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 teachers who have religious objections to joining a union can choose to have all of the money they would pay in dues go instead to a non-religious charity.
Liability insurance, which protects teachers in case of a lawsuit, can be found outside of the NEA. Non-union teachers associations like the Association of American Educators and the Christian Educators Association International offer liability insurance and do not get involved in politics.
Kick Out the NEA: In states where teachers are required to pay fees to a union, a group of teachers can hold elections to vote for "decertification." Laws for decertification have to be followed carefully (see the link below), but a group of teachers does have the power to drop their local union.
For more information on options for teachers who want to keep their money out of the NEA's coffers, please see the links below.
It's Time For Us To Fly, Christian Teachers - OneNewsNow
At Meeting, NEA Declines To Remain Neutral On Abortion - Baptist Press
What Should Teachers Know About Their Rights - TeachersUnionExposed.com
Public Sector Decertification/Deauthorization Laws - National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation
Protecting Bad Teachers - TeachersUnionExposed.com
Basic Facts About the NEA - TeachersUnionExposed.com
Back To School: The Un-Neighborly Neighbor - Koinonia House
The Association of American Educators - AAE
Christian Educators Association International - CEAI