PHILADELPHIA (BP)–Despite opposition from much — if not most — of their base, leaders of the National Education Association are aggressively advancing the homosexual agenda in public schools.
At their annual meeting in Philadelphia in early July, the NEA’s Executive Committee adopted three recommendations from the organization’s committee on sexual orientation and gender identification, but the move went largely unnoticed by the 9,000 delegates present at the Representative Assembly.
The approved recommendations, which were delivered briefly in an Executive Committee report and did not require a vote of the assembly, call for the NEA to lobby for hate crimes legislation, boost the NEA website to “include all resources” devoted to homosexual causes, and push for sexual orientation training to be a requirement for earning a teaching credential.
Andy Linebaugh, director of public relations for the NEA, told Baptist Press July 20 that he was unaware of the three recommendations on homosexuality adopted by the Executive Committee and offered no comments on the matter.
Jeralee Smith, a California teacher and founder of the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus, told Baptist Press the latest developments remind her of the way leaders pushed their agenda through a few years ago, despite opposition.
“This is kind of the same thing that happened in 2001 when Dr. [James] Dobson called for a protest rally in front of the NEA convention in Los Angeles,” Smith said. “When somebody tried to propose NEA policy on the Representative Assembly floor that would basically promote gay-lesbian curriculum, there were a whole bunch of states that were against it,” Smith recounted.
“… What happened then was they referred everything to committee, and the next year in the registration packet of the delegates was a 60-page sexual orientation document that was adopted by the Executive Committee. The Representative Assembly had nothing to say about it.”
The NEA’s committee on sexual orientation and gender identification was created in 2002, and it “monitors NEA implementation of policies related to full inclusion and safety of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members and students,” according to the NEA website.
The first recommendation, as adopted by the Executive Committee this year, urges the NEA to “develop public and member support” for the “creation, amendment and/or passage of federal hate crimes legislation” that the recommendation says “protects members and students from harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Committee members acknowledged a “continuing lack of empirical or even anecdotal data on the experiences and the rate of harassment,” but they attributed the deficiency to “the extreme homophobia that makes many schools inhospitable places for personnel to be openly GLBT, rather than the absence of negative experiences among GLBT school personnel.”
Foes of hate crimes legislation say the law could be used to restrict religious speech and would grant protection based on lifestyle.
The second recommendation included a directive for the NEA to “expand the GLBT web page on the NEA website to include all resources devoted to GLBT issues, including but not limited to training, strategies for collective bargaining, legislation and policy, and the legal rights of education employees and students.” Another portion of the recommendation asked that “NEA develop training standards for the appropriate inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression issues in NEA trainings.”
The third recommendation called for the NEA to “advocate for more fully incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity/expression within National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education standards and principles.”
The committee set its sights on the standards set by NCATE in hopes of someday requiring teacher candidates to undergo diversity training related to sexual orientation.
“The committee believes that NCATE standards that more fully address and incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity/expression issues may serve as a model for other standards and guidelines affecting education,” the report said.
In addition to the recommendations, Smith said, the standing committee reported that during the past year the NEA contributed $5,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and made “significant contributions” to other organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
“NEA is exploring ways to support Parents and Friends of Lesbians … and is also working with groups like the Human Rights Campaign,” the report said.
Smith told Baptist Press the NEA’s recent actions should concern all citizens.
“Even if the average American may not be Christian, our personal freedoms are violated when our money is spent on things with which we disagree,” Smith said, referring to hundreds of dollars in union dues that teachers are required to pay. “When the NEA picks an agenda that a good share of the members have issue with, they find ways to advance it no matter what the members think. And they really don’t put forth a lot of effort to solicit member input or respect it when they do have it.”
What most people don’t understand, Smith said, is that the teachers’ union is a “well-oiled political machine” that enjoys significant influence from local school board elections all the way up to national elections, and their army of lobbyists at every level of government aggressively promotes NEA policies.
“Personally, I have seen legislation coming through the California state legislature that was almost word-for-word NEA policy,” Smith said.
Teachers, she said, need to be informed that “they have a right to get active in the union and have a voice, or they have a right to get out of the union no matter what state they live in.”
“I would refer them to Christian Educators Association and the Association of American Educators,” Smith said. “Those are the two nationwide organizations that offer professional liability insurance and various kinds of support and information.”
In June, an Ohio federal court gave a teacher in that state with pro-life convictions the right to give money to a charity rather than to the NEA, which is on record as supporting the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Candi Cushman, an education analyst for Focus on the Family, said in an editorial July 18 that the silver lining in the NEA’s cloud of deception is that the organization’s weak spot is money: disgruntled teachers diverting their dues because they suddenly realized the wool was being pulled over their eyes.