- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 29, 2004

Many states are having trouble accepting the changes the No Child Left Behind Act mandates. They state myriad problems including funding, the timetable laid out for adherence, the higher standards and the newly defined qualifications for teachers.

Democrats and state’s rights Republicans are banding together in an unusual effort to either amend or repeal the NCLB legislation. Neither is expected to happen.

But one of the bigger problems this group has with NCLB is that it is a federal legislation and therefore creates federal control over the education system of each state.

While states have long demanded funding from the federal government for their educational systems they have consistently rejected any acceptance of standards imposed by the federal government. One could say there is a double standard. But what are we to expect from an organizational community mired in entitlement and ideology?

An even more peculiar double standard embraced by the educational community however, is acceptance of a national agenda via the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, two teachers unions that exert incredible lobbying pressure in Washington D.C. and who endorse and encourage the most liberal and multicultural educational agendas onto the educational systems of our states. They, in essence, reign supreme in mandating a national agenda for our states’ school systems via the teachers union vehicle, which extracts money from the educational community rather than injecting funding into the system.

I find it ironic, and frankly disturbing that groups whose charters expressly define them as bargaining units for a labor force now mandate education policies for our children.

Did any of the parents of these children, any of the school boards who oversee the educational communities accept this mandate? Is it appropriate for a political action group to have more say in what is taught in our classrooms and how our teachers interact with our children than the local school boards charged with overseeing our children’s education?

Consider this: At the 2003 NEA convention in New Orleans, the NEA passed resolutions on abortion rights, gun control, homosexuality, terrorism, affirmative action, multiculturalism, national health care, international relations and immigration. It expressed belief that “efforts to legislate English as the official language disregard cultural pluralism; deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment; and must be challenged.” They have championed all of these issues and routinely bring their positions into classrooms.

It’s no wonder it takes eighth-graders several attempts to pass the U.S. Constitution test. They are too busy learning about the rights of homosexual foreign terrorists who are petitioning the U.N. to condemn the United States for not embracing an entitlement program for illegal immigrants who want abortions performed by non-English speaking graduates of colleges favoring affirmative action (before anyone writes there is no such subject matter offered in the California school system, I will note that was sarcasm).

Isn’t it amazing an organization charged with dealing with teacher’s contracts would have positions on these matters? The phrase “overstepping their bounds” comes to mind.

In a perfect world, a way would be found around all this that would placate everyone but the most liberal of activists. If the NEA and AFT would remove themselves from America’s classrooms and focus on what their original concerns, their member’s contracts, the federal government would be free to leave the educational standards to the local school authorities.

Plainly said, if the NEA and AFT got their noses out of the classrooms and ceased their nationally mandated liberal agenda, the federal government would leave education to the local school boards, as it should. But as we do not live in “Pleasantville,” and as long as the NEA and AFT insist on mandating a partisan world educational agenda for our schools, I believe the federal government should protect our children against these dangerous organizations’ ultraliberal agendas.

Oh, for that perfect world.

FRANK SALVATO

Mr. Salvato is a political media consultant and the managing editor for TheRant.us.

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