NEA/VEA Come Clean, Admit Real Purpose (Hint: It's Not About Education)Jun 29, 2010
Sometimes we find things that our opposition says or does that are just too revealing not to expose to the public at large. For example, NARAL's fascinating linguistic gymnastics. Now, an astounding admission from the NEA/VEA that confirms what we, and other education reformers, have said for years: That the VEA is about educators, not education. Unlike how the VEA poses, it is not about anything resembling education, much less improving it. Quite simply, the VEA is a union. Not a think tank. Not a "for the children" organization. The VEA is a union and is about union membership. But don't take our word for it. Here is an admission straight from the mouth of the NEA's retiring chief counsel, in 2009:
And that brings me to my final, and most important point. Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.
Pretty blatantly stated. But there it is: The NEA/VEA has one goal — the financial and professional betterment of its members, which in turn increases its power. If achievement of its goals requires advocacy for higher education standards or better classroom environments to achieve its union goal, it will pursue what it must. But don’t be fooled. Such advocacy is an inconvenient diversion to its accumulation of power and political goals.
To successfully dismantle the VEA's power in Virginia politics, we must defund it and alternative teacher organizations hold the key. One such alternative is Virginia Professional Educators, a professional organization that offers better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates (click here for more information). As long as teachers continue to send dues to the VEA, it will continue to hire its 30-plus lobbyists in Richmond every year where they then proceed to undermine school choice efforts, push for higher taxes and, incredibly, involve itself in issues that have nothing to do with public education, such as promoting abortion and homosexual marriage. (Improving education? What's that?)
Self-assessments from our opposition are fascinating. Sometimes the honesty in their words is revealing. Take note of the deflated words delivered in an April 2010 speech by VEA President Kitty Boitnott:
This year, our [General Assembly] 'wins' are better measured by what we prevented from happening. ... the VEA has lost members in significant numbers this year due to a whole host of reasons . . . along with the external challenges of having few friends in high places, we have also been suffering from an internal malaise of sorts in many of our very own local affiliates. ... I do not believe that I overstate the case when I say that public education is under siege. It is being attacked at every corner, and there are those who would not only under fund public education . . . but they would dismantle public education in favor of alternative avenues. ...
By its own admission, teachers are wising up and leaving the VEA and, in turn, the VEA is feeling the heat. No longer is it advancing its leftist agenda at the expense of hard working, well meaning teachers. Instead, it's on the defensive. As we've said before, the VEA's worst nightmare — education freedom — is coming to Virginia. It's a matter of when, not if. The Family Foundation and our educational freedom allies are continuing to build a convincing case for school choice in Virginia. We will not relent until Virginia families are given the opportunity to freely choose the best educational option for their children.