Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from a new book detailing the rise of government unions, their stranglehold over public policy, and how to defeat them. Aaron Withe’s “Freedom is the Foundation” explains why every American should be concerned about government unions using our tax dollars and union dues to push their radical ideology on the nation. This particular excerpt focuses on how teachers unions are an integral part of the Left’s agenda.
Withe is the CEO of the Freedom Foundation, which works to end the undue influence of government unions through aggressive outreach campaigns that help members leave their unions and litigation to hold unions accountable when they flagrantly disregard the law.
Teachers unions are writing the playbook of the hard Left. The Freedom Foundation obtained “Racial Justice in Education,” an internal document published in 2018 by the National Education Association. It illustrates, in shocking detail, the degree to which the nation’s largest teachers union embraces the tenets of critical race theory and shows how this neo-Marxist ideology serves as the fountainhead of the union’s support of a host of radical policies, from defunding the police to banning voter ID requirements.
This guidebook, which remained almost invisible outside union circles, was produced well before these noxious trends became widely known. But their discovery shows that the NEA was critical in laying the groundwork for the movements that nearly tore our country apart in 2020–21.
A mere two years after the NEA published “Racial Justice in Education,” the union’s evil plan came to fruition, as Portland and other cities starved law enforcement and CRT was shoved down children’s throats all over America.
A full reading of the eighty-page “Racial Justice in Education” leaves one stupefied. It also reveals that the NEA holds views on race that many, if not most, Americans and most teachers would find troubling or even repellent.
Like a tornado from Hell, the NEA’s preferred policies swept over America in 2020 and 2021. Woke mobs toppled statues of everyone from George Washington to abolitionists, police departments were defunded and police officers assaulted, businesses were destroyed and the streets ran red with blood, illegal immigration reached record levels, schoolchildren were taught to hate their country’s past and to judge each other on the basis of skin color. … It was the realization of the NEA’s dream.
Unfortunately, it was a nightmare for the rest of us.
Union officials are careful not to talk like this in public—but “Racial Justice in Education” reveals their real agenda.
At the height of the insanity, the NEA’s 2021 Representative Assembly adopted several New Business Items (NBIs) endorsing critical race theory. When it became apparent that these would cause serious blowback, the union scrubbed them from its website—but as our [the Freedom Foundation’s] Max Nelsen reported, the internet’s Wayback Machine has a way of keeping embarrassing items from disappearing down the memory hole. These included:
—NBI A committed the NEA to eradicating ‘institutional racism in our public school system’ by, among other things, ‘increasing the implementation of … critical race theory’ and opposing ‘racist laws, policies, and practices; the over-criminalization of communities, students, and families of Native people and people of color; as well as the criminalization of poverty.’
—NBI 2 directed the NEA to conduct opposition research on—in other words, dig up dirt and smear—’organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work,’ i.e., promoting critical race theory. If you’re critical of CRT, the NEA is going to hunt you down.
—NBI 39 directed the NEA to ‘fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric’ and to ‘oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.’
This was an NEA project, but the AFT [the American Federation of Teachers, another teachers union], under Randi Weingarten, has also put leftist social and cultural projects in the forefront. The Government Accountability Project notes, “Rather than focus on pension issues and protection against mistreatment, Randi Weingarten’s agenda has emphasized radical changes in education that do not serve students or teachers.”
As for serving parents … Hah! The teachers union big shots have come to regard parents as the enemy. They stand in the way of indoctrination. Those parents who aren’t on board with CRT or expanding the number of genders beyond male and female must be vanquished. Thus, the NEA’s EdJustice website encourages teachers to avail themselves of resources that urge them to establish “a private, virtual connection with an LGBTQ student that is not supported at home, so you can check in with them about their family dynamic and brainstorm self-care strategies.” This is an example of what the Government Accountability Project calls the effort by teachers unions to expand “the role of the school in the community and interrup[t] the traditional role of parents as the heads of the nuclear family.”
But parents, as we are seeing, aren’t going to stand for this displacement any longer.
Critical race theory tells us that the public education system, like all of America, was conceived in vile racism and remains inherently racist. You’d think this line of argument might cause the teachers unions some discomfort—after all, they’ve been effectively controlling the system for decades—but it doesn’t seem to have cost them any lost sleep. Their main concern isn’t raising the next generation of informed citizens; it’s indoctrinating the next generation of liberal voters.
Many, many teachers disapprove of CRT and all its associated nonsense. But unions like the NEA and the AFT have fully embraced racial Marxism and an ideology that denies individuality and objective truth and views America’s founding values and constitutional government as obstacles to be subverted and thrown into the trash heap.
If parents object, these unions first ignore them, then slander them, and then demand that they be silenced.
The recent election of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Virginia shows the power of parents when they refuse to be silenced. Promising signs indicate that their example may be followed many times, in many places, and with equal or greater success.
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