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What do you call an organization made up of 3 million government employees that can’t find even 3 parents per state to agree with their radical agenda?
The National Education Association (NEA).
Indeed, as chronicled in a new report from Education Week, the NEA, which is the nation’s largest teachers’ union, has just wrapped up its annual assembly – and the group’s trajectory is as bleak as it is extreme.
As EdWeek reports, the NEA lost 115,000 members between 2017 and 2022 and projects losing an additional 24,000 teachers as part of its latest budget (in addition to thousands of other “education support professionals”).
But the truly revealing story is the catastrophic lack of support for the NEA’s radical agenda outside of those financially profiting from its taxpayer shakedowns. In particular, parents have apparently so thoroughly rebuffed the NEA’s extremism that EdWeek reports:
“Another category of membership never fully materialized: In 2019, the NEA opened up a ‘community ally’ category for non-educators, who could be parents or other supporters of its work. The union had expected to enroll 6,300 community allies by this fiscal year – but instead, the number is closer to 150” (emphasis added).
It’s perhaps little wonder that parents would have little stomach for a group explicitly dedicated to promoting critical race theory (CRT), race-based reparations and radical gender ideology – all while it tries to brand parent groups like Moms for Liberty as “threatening” to public schools.
At the same time, even when it comes to its existing base of government employees, the NEA is in panic mode after Govs. Ron DeSantis and Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation blocking the unions from automatically siphoning money out of teachers’ paychecks to pay membership dues this year. “Eliminating payroll-deduction services will have a ‘devastating and immediate’ impact on membership, NEA President Becky Pringle warned delegates,” EdWeek reports.
In short, the union recognizes that if their members begin feeling the impact of the NEA’s hand in their pocket, the group’s membership rolls may truly begin to spiral downward.
Until then, however, the organization – which has already called for the re-election of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, budgeted over $50 million for political campaigning and lobbying, and is now planning to shovel over $1 million to boost support among its anemic “community ally” (parent) program – will continue to flex its muscle over U.S. elections and the education of millions of American children.
But thanks to grassroots groups like Moms for Liberty and the leadership of governors in Florida, Arkansas and elsewhere, the voices of parents are poised to reverberate far more loudly in the halls of government and the sphere of education than those who demanded endless shutdowns, masks and federal spending during COVID-19.
Indeed, it is clear that for the first time in decades, the public school establishment is on the defensive – with universal school choice sweeping the nation in 2022 and 2023 over the howls of protest from union activists dedicated to keeping students trapped in underperforming government-run schools.
Now, it is imperative that political leaders and champions of parents’ rights continue to press forward, promoting not only school choice, but companion legislation such as full online academic transparency to disclose the course content being pushed on public school students.
Of course, victories for students will not all come overnight, and the list of union absurdities will continue to grow, as the NEA and its allies increasingly twist and abuse the English language to redefine words and concepts to suit their purposes. But if the latest NEA assembly – which, for instance, calls for renaming “right to work” states as “anti-worker” states in all union communications – is any indication of their desperation or their tenuous grasp of truth, then those of us who support students and parents’ rights have great cause for hope.
The NEA’s “community ally” brigade on the other hand, perhaps not so much.