Another Post that'll keep me off the NEA Today's bloglist, subtitled, The NEA: A National Organization Out of Touch With Teachers?
Lots of my compatriots have been writing about the NEA lately.
Edwonk has been challenging the NEA to set up a comments-enabled website, and even suggested a name here, which then inspired a response at Thespis Journal accusing the Edwonk of being "Right-wing" (pause to let me wipe the tears from my eyes....) here. Hey, Thespis people! There are fine folks and pals in the edusphere FAR more virulent in their criticism of the NEA, and frankly, with the rottenness of the CTA, who can call it "bashing?" Jeez, we can't get our voices heard in the national organization, and when we use our very own blogs to try to critique the NEA like grownups, we get hysterics-- and yes, I did intend to imply the classical meaning of that term, as sexist as it is. I have always stated that I would prefer to belong to a professional organization rather than a union (like the AFT, which makes me uncomfortable in its stances even worse than the NEA.) But it would help if the place WAS professional in its positions and its behavior.
I am not "Anti-NEA," and I sure as hell am not "right-wing." (I've got TWO wings, because otherwise one tends to fly in a circle or flutter helplessly to the ground to get trampled.) I belong to this organization and am a member of the executive board at my district. I just wish this organization acted like it belongs to me, instead of me belonging to it, like some sort of medieval flunky.
I believe that the local NEA does many good things for teachers. That said, I also believe that the national organization should focus on improving excellence in teaching, work to protect academic integrity and defend against attempts at harassment by incompetent school administrators, et cetera.
As I've stated before, the NEA should NOT
protect incompetent or unprofessional teachers like these lovebirds or these freaks here, whom I am just using for examples since I don't know that they're members of NEA or AFT. We all know of situations where this type of thing has happened in NEA.
I don't think the NEA should be taking a position on issues like abortion-- and people, don't go trying to parse my stance on that very complex issue from that comment! I just think it has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH HELPING ME DO MY VERY DIFFICULT BUT REWARDING JOB! I would give the NEA a grade of 25%, which in my universe is an F.
What's so scary about the idea of electing our own national officers? Why should the NEA spend my dues on non-educational causes with no veto power by me? It's that kind or insane lack of focus that keeps some teachers from joining NEA. They know they need a professional organization to help them establish working conditions which help both us and our students (don't climb down my back, now, Darren. We're on the same page.) But I respect the discomfort of my conservative colleagues who disagree with many stances of the NEA. That's the truly liberal (in the classical sense of the word) side of me coming through. These positions make me unhappy, too, especially because they prevent you from belonging to your local organization, which can come in very handy if Assistant Principal Plea-Bargain has decided for no particular reason that he doesn't like you and wants to make your life a hellish nightmare.
So who would be up for something different? Any suggestions? The floor is open-- unlike at the NEA.