Skip to comments.Teachers union calls for defeat of Bush - "Fahrenheit 9/11" showing at convention
Posted on 07/05/2004 12:52:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
The head of the National Education Association opened the largest school union's annual convention yesterday with a call for public school teachers and employees to mobilize politically to help defeat President Bush this fall.
"I know that if we put forth our best effort, we are going to win," Reg Weaver told a cheering audience in a 30-minute speech in which he criticized Mr. Bush and Education Secretary Rod Paige.
"Our 2.7 million members can be the 'X-factor' in this election. We and our pro-public-education allies can and will make a decisive difference," he said.
The convention votes tomorrow on the NEA's endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The Massachusetts senator is scheduled to address the convention tomorrow.
The union is collaborating with the liberal organization MoveOn.org to coordinate nationwide political "house parties."
The parties, described as "the largest mobilization for education ever" are being organized nationwide to plan political rallies, register voters, set up meetings with congressional candidates, "and design a program to make sure your parents, teachers and community members will get to the polls in November," according to brochures distributed to 10,000 NEA delegates at the Washington Convention Center.
The union had sign-up cards for the house parties, and NEA political action committee staffers recruited delegates all day yesterday to participate and make political donations in an adjoining cafeteria.
At about 2 p.m. yesterday, screens and TV monitors throughout the convention floor flashed the names of five leading states California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington whose delegates had ponied up a total of $1.57 million to date in political contributions.
The sign-up brochure described as sponsoring "partner organizations" ACORN, the Campaign for America's Future and MoveOn.org.
"We thought it was an activity that could galvanize our members to help fix and fund [the] No Child Left Behind [Act of 2001]," Mr. Weaver told The Washington Times during a convention recess.
"I'm trying to activate our members. I'm about mobilizing and stimulating our folks" so that the school union's political activism "takes center stage" for the remainder of the presidential campaign, he said.
Yesterday, union officials distributed 10,000 fliers to individual state caucuses informing them that filmmaker Michael Moore's anti-Bush film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," would be shown to delegates in the convention hall tomorrow immediately after Mr. Kerry's speech.
The announcement of the showing and the strongly anti-Bush tone of the convention brought grumbling from Republican members, who make up more than one-fourth of the union's total membership.
One such member, Sissy Jochmann from the Pennsylvania delegation, called the Moore film "vicious" and said she would publicly call for "a timeout" if union leaders and members continued "bullying us with all their anti-Bush and anti-Republican rhetoric."
Even liberal political commentator Christopher Hitchens, who was an Oxford University friend and roommate of President Clinton's during the 1970s, has described "Fahrenheit 9/11" as "a big lie and a big misrepresentation."
The film claims that terrorist Osama bin Laden's family had a close business relationship with Mr. Bush's family and that the wars to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq were motivated by greed.
Mr. Weaver defended NEA's showing of the film, which the flier said was donated by Mr. Moore so the union could raise more political funds. Delegates have been asked to contribute $20 to the NEA PAC to see the film.
"Some delegates from Wisconsin were sitting around at dinner the other night and said, 'Wouldn't it be great to have [the film] at the NEA Representative Assembly,' " Mr. Weaver said.
"People contacted members of the California delegation. The next thing I knew, we got it. It's voluntary. If people don't want to watch it, they don't have to," the union president said.
In his speech, Mr. Weaver repeated his complaint that the administration has refused to accept NEA positions and "the expertise that this organization brings to the table."
Mr. Weaver chastised the administration for "broken promises" to fully fund the No Child Left Behind law. "This administration wants to cut you off at the knees, and then blame you for not being able to walk," he said.
He attacked government spending for the military action against deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"For what we have paid for the war in Iraq, we could have paid for 17,066,831 children to attend Head Start; provided health insurance for 51,741,858 children; hired 2,299,310 additional teachers; paid for 3,061,859 four-year scholarships to a public university," he said.
And he repeated the NEA's attack against the administration's federal school-reform program that was enacted by a bipartisan congressional majority.
"There is no way around it: No Child Left Behind forces us to spend money we don't have, on programs we don't need, to get results that don't matter."
Republicans have disputed the NEA's claims regarding underfunding of the Title I school program for low-income school districts, saying federal spending has increased 51 percent since Mr. Bush took office. Title I spending was $8.8 billion in the final Clinton administration budget and is $13.3 billion this year.
Yeah, anybody know anything about this? It made splashy headlines for a few days then dried up. The NEA needs to be taken down hard by the IRS. I'm involved with several nonprofit organizations. The IRS rules are very clear. The stuff being done by the NEA is 100% illegal.
Isn't the NEA under investigation by the IRS for using their union dues for political reasons ..??
If so, somebody needs to send the IRS a copy of this speech.
All NEA members should hang their head in shame.
How can we get separation of school and politics?
Answer: Being able to be free to choose?
Teacher union members will be the biggest single contingent of delegates to the Democratic Convention in Boston later in July, just as they were in 2000, when more than 350 NEA members and 152 AFT members were Democratic delegates. In addition, teacher unions will donate millions to elect Democrats at all levels of government. Indeed, the NEA and AFT are two of the top 13 all-time donors to the Democratic Party since 1978, giving nearly $12.4 million to Democrats as of June 2003, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to teacher union political activism. Much of what goes on is hidden from view, even from teacher union members themselves.
Like most unions, the teacher unions not only collect voluntary contributions from their members to donate to political candidates -- some 95 percent of which goes to Democrats -- they also spend huge sums of their members' dues to register voters, run ads, print campaign leaflets, set up phone banks and turn out voters on Election Day. What's more, the NEA employs what Landmark Legal Foundation president Mark Levin calls "the largest army of campaign workers that any organization has" -- the 1,800 NEA UniServ directors who are deployed in every Congressional District in the nation. The NEA, with its state affiliates, spent some $90 million to underwrite its UniServ program in 2003, according todocuments Landmark Legal Foundation unearthed in its extensive court filings against the union.
These UniServ directors are responsible for all political activities within their geographic area, including raising funds for the NEA's political action committee (cynically named the Fund for Children and Public Education), managing NEA's delegates to the Democratic convention, giving campaign support for NEA-endorsed candidates and coordinating the union's lobbying efforts. Yet despite the obvious political nature of these union operatives' work and the huge sums of money to support it, the NEA claims it doesn't spend a dime of the dues it collects on politics, or at least that's what it tells the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Both the NEA and the AFT claim they spend zero dollars on politics when they file annual returns with the IRS. Why? Because as tax-exempt organizations, they would owe taxes on that portion of their revenues that they spend on politics. Other non-profit groups report their political and lobbying expenses -- the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, for example, reported almost $20 million in such spending in 1996 -- but not the teacher unions. So, not only are the unions ripping off their own members, they are defrauding the government of millions of dollars in taxes.
What makes this all the more galling is that teacher unions want the rest of us to pay higher taxes. When California experienced a $35-billion budget shortfall in 2002, largely because of out-of-control spending by the Democrat-controlled legislature and then Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, the California Federation of Teachers proposed raising six separate taxes to close the gap and passing legislation that would make it easier to raise taxes in the future. Of course the teacher unions claim these higher taxes would benefit education, though more money has done little to improve education to date.
Funding on education has gone up exponentially in the last several decades -- we're now spending more than three times as much per pupil in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars than we did in 1960 -- but student test scores, as measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress, have shown almost no improvement over that same period.
Teacher unions deserve an "A" for their unswerving devotion to the Democratic Party, but they have failed miserably when it comes to improving education. [End]
Give us our money to choose how our children are educated!
If I typed what I think is an appropriate response, I'd be banned from FR for good.
I am starting to think that for the position one wants to attain in any liberal organization, it all depends on how big a lie one is willing to tell.
That sums up many an opinion.
***The first truth about leftist missionaries, about believing progressives, is that they are liars. But they are not liars in the ordinary way, which is to say by choice. They are liars by necessity-often without even realizing that they are. Because they also lie to themselves. It is the political lie that gives their cause its life.
Why, for example, if you were one of them, would you tell the truth? If you were serious about your role in humanity's vanguard, if you had the knowledge (which others did not), that you were certain would lead them to a better world, why would you tell them a truth that they could not "understand" and that would hold them back?
If others could understand your truth, you would not think of yourself as a "vanguard." You would no longer inhabit the morally charmed world of an elite, whose members alone can see the light and whose mission is to lead the unenlightened towards it. If everybody could see the promised horizon and knew the path to reach it, the future would already have happened and there would be no need for the vanguard of the saints.
That is both the ethical core and psychological heart of what it means to be a part of the left. That is where the gratification comes from. To see yourself as a social redeemer. To feel anointed. In other words: To be progressive is itself the most satisfying narcissism.
That is why it is of little concern to them that their socialist schemes have run aground, burying millions of human beings in their wake. That is why they don't care that their panaceas have caused more human suffering than all the injustices they have ever challenged. That is why they never learn from their "mistakes." That is why the continuance of Them is more important than any truth.
If you were active in the so-called "peace" movement or in the radical wing of the civil rights causes, why would you tell the truth? Why would you tell people that no, you weren't really a "peace activist," except in the sense that you were against America's war. Why would you draw attention to the fact that while you called yourselves "peace activists," you didn't oppose the Communists' war, and were gratified when America's enemies won? *** Source
The damage the create is in the pop culture, the violence, and the voting patterns of the deluded. That's true.
But the answer might simply be to further encourage home-schooling, by removing whatever barriers remain. Catholics, and Protestants, Muslims and Buddhists, liberals and conservatives, all tend to excel if they come from a home-school. Not all, that's true. But it appears that the average are far better educated that even those treated to 'charter schools'.
What's missing - frankly in so much of business, itself - is the free market. If home-schooling is generally producing superior results, then obstacles to its support ought to be removed.
There's no surprise in this post.
"How can we get separation of school and politics?"
Join and support the Alliance for the Separation of School & State!
Government schools have no place in a free society. You wouldn't send your kid to a bureaucrat for health care, why send him to a bureaucrat to be educated?
"The union is collaborating with the liberal organization MoveOn.org to coordinate nationwide political "house parties."
House parties are being organized by both sides from the websites http://www.georgewbush.com and http://www.johnkerry.com Anyone can go the sites and enter their zipcode to find the nearest house party and request an invitation.....so, I wonder why the teachers union is using MoveOn.org to coordinate their parties? especially since Kerry has stated he has no alliance with moveon.org
Well, they LIE, don't they!?
***John Kerry: Building on a Record of Support and Respect - John Kerry has a track record of respect and support for teachers and education support professionals second to none. Whether it's his voting record on private school vouchers, his opposition to using a single, high-stakes test to judge student and school success, or his proposal to provide affordable health care, Kerry's record and proposals speak for themselves. Find out for yourself. ***
FINE THEIR SOCKS OFF EVERY WAY POSSIBLE, imho.
They are little more than treason factories
. . . particularly in behalf of the sovereignity obliterating global government tyranny folks.
I am a teacher.( 35 years) I am a Conservative . Why should I hold my head in shame . A lot of teachers are Conservative in their political thinking. Its not our fault that we are "surrounded by idiots " who run the unions and set policy. After seeing that Moore's piece of $hit is showing at the convention , it seems we are surrounded by $ssholes as well.
I really get angry at the closeminded posters that blanket all teachers as Liberal in their posts.