NEA will fight ‘Institutional Racism’
New Business Item B, introduced by the NEA Board of Directors and passed unanimously at the Orlando convention, claims that the nation, and particularly its schools, are places of “institutional racism.”
Union delegates voted in favor of “partnering with a broad coalition of national stakeholders on campaigns and actions to eradicate policies that perpetuate institutional racism in education.” They will join “campaigns and actions on critical social justice issues impacting students and their communities.” This will include providing grants to “programs aimed at improving school climate and culture” and expanding partnerships “in the areas of cultural competence, diversity, and social justice in order to address institutional racism.”
The NEA plans to spend over $275,000 on this effort.
The irony and disturbing truth is that the union opposes every opportunity for students to escape underperforming public schools in order to obtain a better education and thereby ensure a more fulfilling future. The NEA actively opposes vouchers, tax credits, or savings accounts that might allow students to move to superior private schools; they oppose trigger laws that allow parents to force improvement at failing schools; they oppose parental choice plans; and they oppose homeschooling.
There are also many NEA provisions that make public schools worse than they would be if reasonable rules were put in place. One is Resolution D-22, which states: “The NEA believes that competency testing must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers.” How can students receive a quality education when the union refuses to allow criteria for eliminating incompetent teachers?
‘Institutional Racism’ vs. Bigotry
The term “institutional racism” is controversial. Black conservative activist Star Parker says, “Institutionalized racism is racism that a society officially endorses. It is present when there is a legal framework that supports it.” Racial bigotry is in the hearts of some Americans, both white and black, but it is not endorsed by the law. Bigotry within the soul of an individual won’t be cured by government intervention. It can be lessened through appropriate education and by teaching morality.
Parker criticizes politicians who seemed to use the tragic murders of innocent citizens in Charleston, South Carolina for their own purposes. Many of those who spoke out are the same liberals who have contributed to racial divisions.
Parker says, “The plethora of government programs driven by the pretense that government can go beyond just protecting citizens to become an active tool for creating a more just society have worsened the very problem they pretend to address.” These would historically include “forced integration” and “mandated quotas.”
Parker continues, “Liberal policies have forced ongoing and increased racial consciousness and division in the country.” She says that “by taking government where it does not belong, trying to solve a moral problem it cannot solve, they have made the problem worse and sharpened, rather than eased, racial tensions.” (Townhall, 6-24-15)
On the first day of the NEA convention, board members came to the stage, one by one, and each told something about one of the nine victims of the shootings by a deranged man in Charleston. The last speaker, the president of the South Carolina teachers union affiliate, broke down. No one would question her heartfelt response, but some may question why a ceremony for the church members was held at a teachers union convention. If the shooting had taken place at a school it would have made sense, but as it was, it seemed political, heartless, opportunistic, and out of place — like much of NEA policy.