The Online Newspaper of Education Rights

Current Edition: July 2022

NEA Convention Lunacy Covers Everything but Education

For the first time in two years, the National Education Association (NEA) held its annual convention, or Representative Assembly (RA) as the union calls it, in person in Chicago over the July 4th weekend. Union president Becky Pringle acknowledged that the NEA moved the RA out of Dallas, Texas where it was originally scheduled to take place, but declined to call it a boycott.

Longtime observer of the NEA's annual shenanigans, education researcher and expert, Mike Antonucci, called this "a half-truth." He tweeted on July 7 that according to an NEA board member speaking about the decision to move the conference: "Several other states had already decided to boycott the [convention] in Texas." Some members argued at the board meeting in November 2021 that "we should show up and support the progressive forces that stand too lonely in the Lone Star state. Others noted the severe repression of reproductive rights, the assault on voting rights, and the astonishing state laws that allow guns at public meetings. But it was the unwillingness of Texas to vaccinate and address the pandemic in a rational, safe fashion that carried the day." Apart from the NEA faithful, many observers applaud the state of Texas for those very reasons.


NEA reverses policy on school policing

On July 5, Education Week reported on the NEA's adoption of "a new policy statement calling for an end to the 'criminalization and policing of students'—but stopped short of urging the removal of armed officers on school campuses." The article stated: "During the NEA's representative assembly this week, delegates voted by a wide margin—93 percent in favor—to approve the policy statement, which advocates for restorative justice, culturally competent professional development, family and community engagement, and the elimination of inequities in student discipline and the policing of students on campus."

The new policy grew out of a task force created by the union last year, and essentially reverses its previous policy of favoring school resource officers (SROs). In a June 23 article posted on The 74 website, Mike Antonucci wrote: "While the policy does not call for an outright ban on police in schools, it makes numerous arguments against their presence, and demands limits on the growth of the school resource officer workforce."


Biden Administration,
NEA Push Mandatory Vaccines for Kids

We have seen that the NEA's New Business Item 37 calls for "mandatory masking and COVID vaccines in schools," both of which have been a source of controversy for two years. In late June, just prior to the start of the Representative Assembly (RA), Biden Administration officials called for teachers of America's youngest children to urge their parents to have them vaccinated against COVID-19.

Newsmax reported on June 29 that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra co-signed a letter to early childhood teachers and staff which read in part: "As trusted messengers, staff of ECE programs and schools play a vital role in spreading the good news that COVID-19 vaccination is available for our youngest children. You are essential in encouraging parents and guardians to learn about and access vaccines for all children six (6) months of age and older, which will be available free at no cost."


Is the NEA Still Relevant?

Many readers of these pages may be wondering why Education Reporter continues to devote time and effort to chronicle the National Education Association's (NEA) annual leftwing convention follies, as it has done at least since 1986. It's a fair question. After all, the NEA's Representative Assembly (RA) attendance has been trending downward for years. On July 14, Mike Antonucci posted an article on The 74 website noting that this year's RA attracted just 5,071 delegates, down even from last year's remotely held RA, which drew nearly 6,000 virtual delegates.

During the NEA's heyday of the 1990s, attendance at the RA grew, swelling to nearly 10,000 delegates by 1998. But the NEA chooses to ignore the growing loss of interest among its members, including the overall decline in membership, while tirelessly pursuing an ever more radical agenda, the details of which it now protects from the general public as if it were top secret. For example, only one reporter, Madeline Will of Education Week, was allowed onsite at the 2022 RA, whereas during the 1990s and into the 2000s, the NEA issued a number of press passes. Phyllis Schlafly managed to slip in a representative for a number of years, and Mike Antonucci attended for 19 years before his media credentials were denied in 2017.


Book Reviews

Battle for the American Mind, Uprooting a Century of Miseducation

by Pete Hegseth with David Goodwin, Broadside Books, 2022


  • In late June The Civics Alliance, a coalition of organizations, individuals, and policymakers dedicated to improving civics education for American students, released new model social studies standards. The standards resulted from the coalition's new project called American Birthright: The Civics Alliance's Model K-12 Social Studies Standards. The Alliance released the model standards a week prior to the July 4th holiday to honor the nation's annual Independence Day celebration.

  • Never one to avoid controversy, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined the chorus of voices opposing COVID vaccines for very young children. Royal reported in June that Florida was the only state in the country that did not preorder the vaccines for children under five years of age. DeSantis responded to the inevitable criticism by explaining that "state officials believe the risks of vaccinating young children outweigh the benefits."

  • Tony Kinnett, a science coach in the largest school district in Indiana, explained on his Twitter feed that "here's what we mean when we tell you that we aren't teaching Critical Race Theory." Kinnett uploaded a video he recorded in which he stated: "When we tell you we're not teaching Critical Race Theory, that it's not in our standards, that's misdirection. We don't have the quotes and theories as state standards per se; we do have Critical Race Theory in how we teach.
  • More

Be Our Guest:
Contributing Author Essays

Betsy DeVos Sparks Backlash With Education Proposal—
but the Idea Is Far From Crazy

The vicious backlash to DeVos's remarks actually reveals a broader lesson about just how difficult it is to scale back government once it is expanded.

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was one of the most controversial members of former President Trump's cabinet. Few officials in the entire administration earned the same level of mainstream media ire and social media nastiness as the secretary. Yet over the weekend [of July 16-17], we saw that the backlash continues even now that DeVos has returned to private life.

By Brad Polumbo



Want to be notified of new Education Reporter content?
Your information will NOT be sold or shared and will ONLY be used to notify you of new content.