crowd-of-people-at-a-protest-rally-in-america-against-the-current-government-with-their-hands-in-the-air-view-from-the-back-peaceful-march-of-the-countrys-for-freedom-and-democracy-generative-ai-stockpack-adobe-stock
Crowd of people at a protest rally in America against the current government with their hands in the air, view from the back, peaceful march of the country's for freedom and democracy. Generative AI
Crowd of people at a protest rally in America against the current government with their hands in the air, view from the back, peaceful march of the country's for freedom and democracy. Generative AI
Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Flipboard
Print
Email

Teachers Unions Pretend to Promote Freedom

Originally published at Washington Examiner

With the hashtag “#TeachTruth,” the National Education Association (NEA) demanded the “freedom to teach” and the “freedom to learn” at their annual Representative Assembly earlier this month. It is laughable that the representatives and leaders of the world’s largest teachers union are masquerading as champions of freedom.

These are the same union bosses who forcefully compel teachers to fork over a part of their paychecks in the form of dues, which they, in turn, funnel to Democrat political campaigns. The Democrat lawmakers then drive agendas centered on big government control, mandates, endless regulations, and censorship — all of which are far from the freedom the NEA claims to espouse.

The NEA’s new slogan is a part of its rebrand effort, which comes on the heels of its multi-year effort to keep schools closed during the pandemic. They took “the freedom to learn” from children and held them hostage while they made absurd, unrelated political demands, including defunding the police.

The NEA was also an advocate for vaccine mandates, which were required in some public school districts for staff and children to be allowed to return to their school, despite the plethora of data available by the late spring and early summer of 2020 revealing that children were at very low risk of serious cases of COVID-19 and that schools were not the super-spreader sites they had been made out to be. In short, the teachers unions did all they could to rob educators of the “freedom to teach” in their natural environment and students of the freedom to return to their classrooms to learn.

This abuse of teachers’ and students’ freedom is an ongoing practice in America’s K-12 public schools, thanks to the teachers unions. For example, looking at curriculum, teaching is now often restricted to leftist viewpoints that clash with historical facts and biological realities. Educators are told to instead push upon the young and impressionable captive audience of children and adolescents their personal and union-fed political propaganda. 

Teachers who support such indoctrination get away with this malfeasance because there is little accountability regarding what they teach. Their union member status ensures job security regardless of their professional performance or the violation of school policies. Furthermore, not only do these teachers know they can’t get fired, but they also have a built-in salary increase each year, reinforcing the lack of responsibility for student academic learning in their classrooms.

Despite the best efforts of the teachers unions to thwart them, the recent historic passage of universal or near-universal education savings accounts and private school vouchers in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia proves that the freedom to teach and learn is possible in K-12 education — but only when the teachers unions are no longer in control. 

Keri D. Ingraham

The lack of accountability is dramatically clear by video footage from an outdoor rally on the third day of the NEA’s assembly, posted to the NEA’s Instagram page, showing teachers holding signs that read, “Keep your nose out of my classroom.” This attitude contrasts starkly with what is found at most private schools, which seek to partner with parents and provide a high level of curriculum transparency and accountability for student learning.

The NEA video also featured a massive banner held by its members that featured the transgender pride flag and the words, “READ BANNED BOOKS.” Without question, the NEA’s agenda is to control public education and push radical, hypersexualized content on children despite some of the content being so sexually-explicit that it’s been deemed classroom- and age-inappropriate by policymakers.

Not to be outdone, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second largest teachers union with the infamous Randi Weingarten at its helm, held its annual conference this weekend in Washington, D.C. There were numerous woke-themed sessions held during the conference.

Attendees were also expected to provide “proof of full vaccination” and “complete a self-administered rapid antigen test.” In other words, Weingarten and her team are stuck in their COVID-19 fearmongering narrative of 2020. 

The protocol brings to mind Weingarten’s strongarm tactics she used with the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) to keep schools closed months and years past the time when it was safe to return to in-person schooling. 

Countless parents have had enough of the NEA and AFT’s political agendas that steal the academic education opportunity from their children and push radical content into school policies, procedures, and curricula without regard for parental input or consent. These parents have pulled their children from public schools and found alternative education avenues where their children are afforded the freedom to learn and teachers are committed to teaching truth. 

Indeed, despite the best efforts of the teachers unions to thwart them, the recent historic passage of universal or near-universal education savings accounts and private school vouchers in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia proves that the freedom to teach and learn is possible in K-12 education — but only when the teachers unions are no longer in control.

Keri D. Ingraham

Senior Fellow and Director, American Center for Transforming Education
Dr. Keri D. Ingraham is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and Director of the Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education. She is also a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum. Dr. Ingraham has been a guest on Fox News multiple times. Her articles have been published by The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Federalist, Real Clear Education, The Washington Times, The Epoch Times, Washington Examiner, National Review, The American Spectator, Daily Caller, The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, The Daily Signal, and a host of other media outlets. Fox News has featured her work. Prior to joining Discovery Institute, she spent nearly two decades leading within the field of education as a national consultant, requested conference speaker, head of school, virtual and hybrid academy director, administrator, classroom teacher, and athletic coach. She authored multiple chapters for the book, Sketching a New Conservative Education Agenda, published in 2022. In 2019, she was invited as a contributing author for the book, MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education and co-authored “From Gutenberg to 5G.” Dr. Ingraham was awarded the George W. Selig Doctoral Fellowship in 2013. The following year she received the “World Changer in the Field of Education” award from Regent University.