- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

The National Education Association revels in its claim to be the largest voice for America's teachers corps. Now some teachers are speaking up against NEA curriculum advice. We salute them.
On Monday, this newspaper reported that the NEA is recommending that lesson plans regarding the September 11 terror attacks take a blame-America approach and urge teachers to "discuss historical instances of American intolerance." In other words, as far as the NEA is concerned, teachers shouldn't point their fingers at the obvious bloodletting of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Fingers, the NEA urges, should be pointed at Americans.
Teachers and school districts nationwide, however, have been trying for several months to develop lesson plans that place the attacks in a factual and commemorative context. Some school districts in the Washington region, for example, are holding seminars for teachers before classes for the 2002-03 school year begin next month. This is important, because there ought not be a one-size-fits-all approach to the historic devastation that occurred September 11. After all, students and teachers in the three areas where the planes came crashing down were in imminent danger. Moreover, some school districts lost loved ones and classmates including the D.C. schoolchildren and teachers aboard the hijacked jetliner that crashed into the Pentagon.
Not all teachers' unions agree with the NEA either. The American Federation of Teachers had this to say after reviewing the NEA lesson plans: "The AFT does not support a blame-America approach in particular," spokeswoman Janet Bass said, "and wishes to distance itself from the entire document." Good for AFT and the other teachers.
The anniversary of the terror attacks will be emotionally wrenching for all Americans. For some, the remains of their loved ones will never be recovered. Our military heroes are still perched on foreign soil defending our honor and our lives. If the leadership of the NEA really wants to pay homage to them and other Americans, it would pull its dishonorable lesson plans off its Web site.


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