Republican teachers heckled, harassed at NEA convention

July 6, 2012


By Ben Velderman

WASHINGTON, D.C. – They’re strangers in a strange land.

The handful of Republican teachers who are attending the National Education Association’s annual convention are discovering firsthand how rabidly political and left-of-center their union has become.

The NEA’s week-long meeting – supposedly held to adopt the union’s strategic plan and determine its budget – is little more than an “Obama love fest” that “has all the trappings of a re-election rally,” reports the Associated Press.

“NEA leaders have been urging members to hold house parties to educate their friends about why Obama … deserves a second term,” the news service writes.

The AP interviewed roughly a dozen Republican teachers, many of whom said they felt harassed into supporting Obama, and marginalized by their fellow union members when they refused. Some of the Republican teachers “were so worried about retribution from their colleagues” that they refused to allow the AP to publish their names.

The hostility has become so overt that “a Republican teacher speaking at the convention was booed” for praising GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. This incident was so over-the-top that NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, a vocal Obama supporter, had to remind delegates that everyone has the right to speak.

How high-minded of him.

It’s unsettling that a crowd of educators – people who are allegedly committed to learning new ideas and concepts, willing to follow wherever the truth may lead them – insist that their colleagues march in lockstep with the union and adhere to its political orthodoxy.  Unsettling, but not surprising.

Of course it’s no secret that the NEA is simply an appendage of the Democratic Party, whose leaders are hardcore leftists who masquerade as educator “experts” who care deeply about “the children.”

The good news is that more and more teachers are recognizing the NEA as the political group it has become, and are dropping out of the union. Mike Antonucci reports that union membership has sharply decreased, causing severe financial hardship for the NEA.

Nobody should feel sorry for the beleaguered union; this is the path it chose for itself. Back in the 1960s, NEA leaders make the conscious decision to promote “social justice” causes instead of sound educational policies. They decided to treat teachers as assembly line workers who should be allowed to slog through their jobs, instead of as professionals who doggedly pursue excellence.

Sooner or later, we suspect the handful of Republican (or independent minded) teachers who even bother showing up at the NEA convention will tire of the abuse and will simply drop out.

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5 Responses

  1. Milt Mravic says:

    And who is surprised by this action? They have been out of mainstreem for years. Remind me of SDDS at college in 60’s

  2. Rick OBrien says:

    I have been verbally harassed by members of my own education association for being Republican.  I have pointed out NUMEROUS times that we were supposed to be “Issue driven, party blind” yet were publicly supporting the Democratic Party line and candidates for the major elections (Governor and President).  I had one member on the local PAC say that she hated Republicans and did not trust ANY of them.
    The local President did not stop her diatribe.  I was offended, but was told by the person after the meeting that she did not mean it towards me.  I was a ‘different’ type of Republican.
    Yeah…go figure.
    I also have had run-ins with our State Education Association President about her virulent views concerning politics and Republicans. I recall one speech where she blasted Republican State legislators, and sited Wisconsin as an example. I wondered why we were wasting meeting time listening to this as our State is already a ‘right to work’ state, and Wisconsin’s issue had NOTHING to do with us. It just turned in to more Republican bashing.
    The emails she and I have exchanged are an embarrassment to someone who is supposed to represent ALL members of the Association.

  3. Mrwilson769 says:

    There are times I feel blacklisted and isolated because I’m a republican.  So those stories by republican teachers are definitely real.  If you believe the Republican teachers are ignorant of the fact the NEA has a democratic party bias, you are sorely mistaken.  That is a reality we face and very aware of.  I even recently experienced an incident where I had said hi to some people at a table, and as I walked away one of the people there said “there goes that republican” to her colleagues meaning it to be derogatory and thinking I didn’t hear her.  The republicans are starting to try and become more vocal within the NEA organization because we know we have two battles two fight — our own union and our own party.  We’re Republicans because our personal  and moral values don’t line up with the Democrats, and we’re not ashamed of it despite the persecution.  But we are also people who believe in the role of the union within society, and we are union people as well.  And we are teachers who are also concerned about the current education policy of both parties.  We don’t feel either party has our best interests at heart knowing that both parties are undermining the union and implementing ideas that science and data are beginning to show doesn’t work or gives misleading information about what is really going on in the classroom, and could possibly be creating inequities in how teachers are evaluated and paid.  And I guarantee you if the Republican Party did more to reach out to teachers right now and show clear support for real solutions that work and have data showing that these ideas will work, and if they are willing to work with the NEA for solutions, many democratic teachers — whose support for Obama is lukewarm and iffy to begin with — who are fed up with Arne Duncan for his anti teacher policies would jump ship and vote for MItt Romney in a heartbeat.  People forget that Obama was actually booed by the NEA in 2007 when he spoke and advocated positions that the union disagreed with — including his support of charter schools.  Ironically, he has implemented these ideas through Arne Duncan, and for some odd reason they still endorsed him last year in Chicago.  And even though 28% of teachers voted not to give Obama an early endorsement, there was definitely a lot of teachers who voted for that endorsement who really didn’t want to vote for the endorsement.  Ironically a lot of Chicago style politics in play in the city of Chicago in 2011.  Very ironic isn’t it??  


  5. Tony Uzzell says:

    I have to say that, being an NEA member from Texas, while I was encouraged to support “Educators for Obama”, when I politely declined, I was not harassed, pressured, or marginalized.  Most of my colleagues in the NEA have been nothing but respectful of my personal political decisions, even when we’ve disagreed.  Having been in attendance at the 2012 Representative Assembly, I was, at times, disenchanted with the focus on supporting the President’s re-election campaign, but I’m also aware that the organization voted to endorse him, even if I personally did not.  I, therefore, will continue to be as I have been for years: a simple Roosevelt Republican in the old-school style, politically welcoming of all views and all of those who desire to be Republicans without the need to verify their ideological purity.

    And I will continue to lobby for a strong public education system as it is the best assurance we have that the American Dream will continue to be available to all Americans.  I will continue to believe that letting either the unions or the corporate leaders have all the power is a bad idea, but that balance between the two is the right path.  I will continue to support the NEA and the GOP…and I see nothing wrong with that.

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