Socialist Teachers Unions

by Al Benson Jr.

The National Education Association meets every year for a big national convention in some city or other and teachers from all over the country show up for this event.

An agenda is usually presented showing all the things nationally that the NEA is either for or against. In the past several years they have presented agendas that Hugo Chavez, Marxist dictator of Venezuela, would love. Many of the issues they choose to address have little or nothing to do with education, but everything to do with their leftist worldview.

While many have heard of the NEA they don’t have any idea of how long it has been around or what it really does, only that many of their kids’ teachers belong to it, and the compliant media, when it reports on NEA conventions, is not about to give out anymore real information than it has to. In all fairness to public school teachers, there are some that are not in favor of what this “teachers union” does, but their opposition is generally ignored or ridiculed.

I knew a man in Indiana several years ago that was a public school teachers, one that really tried to educate kids. He was not in favor of a strike the teachers union wanted to engage in, and so when they struck he continued to go to school and attempt to teach. His fellow teachers, in characteristic acts of teacher-union charity, splashed black paint all over his white car and when that didn’t keep him away they slashed his four new tires for him. These are the kinds of things about teachers unions you won’t read about in the papers or hear on the nightly “news.” The media usually tries to paint the teachers unions as champions of “quality education” for the young and downtrodden. That assessment of teachers unions has about as much validity as that black paint they splashed all over my friend’s white car.

Samuel Blumenfeld, in his informative book NEA–Trojan Horse in American Education has given us a view of the NEA that is seldom presented in other places and is almost never available to the American public at large. Blumenfeld noted on page 13 of his book that: “It was…in 1829 that Josiah Holbrook launched the Lyceum movement to organize the educators of America into a powerful lobby for public education. Was Holbrook a covert Owenite? (disciple of socialist Robert Owen). Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate that he was. And if the socialists decided to further their cause through the instrument of public education, we can then understand why the system has had such a pro-socialist bias for as long as anyone can remember. Indeed, public education was to become the socialists’ primary instrument for promoting socialism.”

Also, in 1829, radical socialist and feminist Frances Wright lectured in this country. She spoke in favor of a national system of education–and who was to be the beneficiary of that system? The students? Hardly! In speaking of public education Ms. Wright said, quite forthrightly “That measure–you know it. It is national, rational, republican education, free for all at the expense of all; conducted under the guardianship of the state, at the expense of the state, for the honor, the happiness, the virtue, the salvation of the state.” That’s quite a mouthful of socialist dogma. Karl Marx would have loved it. Maybe he did. Frances Wright, after all, was a little ahead of him in promoting “Free education for all children in public schools.”

Remember now, we are talking about events that happened in 1829–not 1929, but 1829–a mere forty-two years after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. That’s a pretty early date for subversion in this country when most folks have been taught to believe this country never had any real problems in that area until FDR got into office. We need to go back and revise our historical calendars by about a century.

Blumenfeld has informed us that: “The NEA was founded in 1857 at a meeting in Philadelphia called by the presidents of ten state teachers associations…Thomas W. Valentine, president of the New York Teachers Association, told the gathering…’I trust the time will come when our government will have its educational department, just as it now has one for agriculture, for the interior, for the navy, etc.’.” Blumenfeld continued: “Thus it should come as no surprise that the call for a federal department of education was made at the very first organizational meeting.” The socialists didn’t get what they wanted right away, but they never quit working toward it and planning for it. Jimmy Carter finally gave it to them during his one-term presidency in the late 1970s as a payback for teacher union support during his election. Ronald Reagan claimed he wanted to disband it, but, somehow, he never quite got around to it. Trouble is, the Constitution, as flawed as it is, gave the federal government absolutely NO role to play in education in this country, so the feds just usurped the power and did it anyway. Few people dared to complain. After all, it was “for the kids” right? Right? Well, not exactly.

Originally the organization was called the National Teachers Association but, according to Blumenfeld, in 1870 the name was chanted to the National Education Association and membership was opened to include “any person in any way connected with the work of education.” Shortly, the NEA became the “forum” where all the educational issues of the day were dealt with–public vs.private education, the role of government in education, religious educations vs. secular (humanist) education and others. And Blumenfeld has noted that these problems remain with us even today “just as insoluble now as they were then.”

To be continued.