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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stupid in the NEA

Hs'ing mom of two asked in the comments about my experience w/the NEA national convention and whether or not I have seen Stossel's piece on ABC (Stupid in America). Well, I haven't seen the show (we don't have cable or satellite, mostly because I'd be watching History Channel and my wife those home makeover shows, and the kids...would be somewhere doing something that wasn't interrupting our viewing :-) but I've heard about it. Was it unfair? Does it matter? It's hard to trust anything you see on TV. If the NEA didn't like it though, well, I'd say it hit a home run. Which brings me to the 1994 NEA national convention in New Orleans. I have to say the best thing about it was the bread pudding served by the caterers in the back of the convention center. The convention was interesting , enlightening, and there were a couple times I thought I better leave before the brimstone came out of about blasphemies!

The convention center was huge (yes the infamous convention center of hurricane Katrina fame) and I haven't seen so many people under one roof ever. Seems like it was about 12,000 or so. Hillary Clinton was the keynote pushing her healthcare ideas. What I remember most, besides the dozens of measures passed (and the bread pudding!) that didn't seem to have anything to do with education, was the march against the state of Louisiana because of their "repressive" laws against women's reproductive rights. Convention staffers passed out little purple and white ribbons to the delegates to wear on the delegate badges. Because I was working with a pregnancy counseling center at home I happened to have an extra pair of those little gold feet that represent an unborn child's sized feet at 10 weeks. I attached my ribbon to my badge with those tiny gold feet. This symbol was completely foreign to the delegates there (Except the NEA Educators for Life Caucus, which I attended that year) and I got a lot of great kudos for the way I attached my ribbon....until I replied confidently and with a huge smile " Yes! I believe in reproductive rights for unborn women!" The reactions were priceless. Nothing threatening though. It really was the most fun I'd had in a long time. It's not often one feels complete license to be onery. Anyway, before the march took place, the Educators for Life Caucus was treated with great caution and concern (compared to the often disinterested reactions given the other delegates representing various measures), the president conducting the session brought special attention to the issues brought to the floor by Educators for Life Caucus just in case "they got one by". ELC did make some points uncomfortable to the NEA leadership though.

When the march was about to take place it began thundering outside. It rumbled the whole convention center. When the president (Keith Geiger) mentioned God and that "she" was speaking it provoked a huge roar of approval from the audience. I have never been anywhere before or since where such a huge crowd seemed to relish and even savor the jibe against the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. I wasn't going to join the march but at this point I left. I couldn't stand it. The mockery at that level was beyond my capacity to endure. I kept thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah, yet I also kept thinking about the incredible mercy of God. I also knew that if I were HE....well, it's a good thing for everyone there I'm just a mortal like them. Still, it did rain on their parade, and I got a little satisfaction out of that. All those people standing in the rain outside singing emotionally "We shall overcome...." was marvelously pathetic though. You had to shake you head and smile.

The rest of the time was left wing politics and walking through crowds of sometimes hundreds of educators chanting silly slogans and holding signs endorsing different delegates running for NEA national posts. Rows and rows of booths catering to left wing agendas through out. It was so incredibly distasteful (except for the bread pudding of course!) that I began my Master's degree program in Education Administration that fall. I did my duty though as a delegate an voted my conscience on each of the measures.

I hope this gives you a taste of the NEA. A hugely powerful organization that feels complete license to malign anyone that challenges their agenda. You know, God was going to save Sodom for even 10 righteous. I know there were about 50 there in the Educators for Life Caucus, so maybe the NEA isn't quite as bad as Sodom, but that was 12 years ago. I don't think they've gotten any better.


  • I am enjoying your blog and will be back again. Thanks for all you are doing - you have a very unique perspective with some hands-on insight. Keep it coming.


    By Blogger, at Thursday, May 11, 2006 8:05:00 PM  

  • I'm glad your convention attendace wasn't a total loss, Bill. :o/ The NEA was portrayed in pretty much the same way by Mr. Stossel as you described them here. Needless to say, there were some teachers who were just a *tad* on the upset side. If you check this link out - - you can read some of the comments made by people who watched the show.

    By Blogger hs'ing mom of two, at Friday, May 12, 2006 4:48:00 PM  

  • At least everyone knew they were all washed up.


    By Blogger The Home School Geek, at Saturday, May 13, 2006 11:31:00 PM  

  • My husband and I love your new blog. Your unique perspective is much appreciated. Thank you for sharing a window into your life and thoughts.

    By Anonymous Deborah, at Monday, May 15, 2006 12:24:00 PM  

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