Here’s a couple of posts (one and two) from the brothers Klonsky, two huge and unabashed NEA cheerleaders, whom I respect, but I don’t necessarily their respect to criticism of the NEA’s lack of courage in recent years. Both support a tone of reconciliation and cooperation when it comes to the NEA. Sure, they’re not perfect, but it would be hell on Earth if they didn’t exist to protect educators. That kind of stuff.
But here’s what bites me the most (emphasis added):
I took a long sip and told Tony that I thought things went pretty well. We got a support resolution for the Chicago Teachers Union passed unanimously by the 9,000 delegates. And some other good resolutions too, for what they’re worth. I felt pretty good about the week.
I explained that a small group of folks were angry about all the rah-rah Obama stuff and the failure to criticize Administration education policies.
“But I don’t know what they were expecting from the NEA in an election year,” I said.
I hear that last statement there in bold all the time now, kind of like an excuse to not do anything for anyone during our long and annoying election season. But last time I checked, there were not necessarily election years in 2011, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001, in just the last decade alone. I mean, sure, there’s always an election somewhere like state delegates, local school boards, governors, and the like. But I think the author above is talking about a Presidential election specifically. Well, like I listed above, those were NOT Presidential election years. So, what was going on then with the NEA?
People like data, right? Let me present a rather crude figure that might illustrate my sentiment:
As you can see from Figure 1, the overall shitiness of teaching is directly proportional to time. That is, as time passes, the teaching profession just keeps getting shittier. We in 2012 are currently in a fairly high level of shitty and projects estimate that the shitty level will increase at the same rate.
If past is prologue, conditions have worsened and will continue to worsen for educators. All of this has occurred under the watchful eyes of the NEA and the AFT. Apparently, whatever tactics they’re using aren’t working!
I’m not a member of any union, so it’s not really my job to play nice. As an outsider, I have every right to critique and every sense to argue that the NEA is simply not setting up a strong enough defense against the philantro-capitalists that want nothing more than a profitable and private system of education. In more extreme cases, they want the complete eradication of the NEA and all public sector unions.
Sure, a group with whom I’m sympathetic put out a very strong statement recently declaring an ultimatum. I keep hearing about how the NEA is the largest organizing body in the world. Great. I also keep hearing about how such a small group such as UOO is really powerless and can’t hold a candle to the NEA, so we don’t really have to pay attention to them.
I think inattention to small, more activist and militant groups, kind of swatting them like flies, ignores the impact of these kinds of organizations throughout history. It also ignores the inevitability of large organizations to collapse under their own bloated bureaucracies and executive leadership.
I really don’t know what else to say at this point. I suppose we can’t expect anything from anyone during an election year, that’s the lesson. But all I know is that there are still children and communities suffering out there and, from an outsider, all I saw the NEA doing was sitting on their asses and passing resolutions. Very quaint, oh so democratic, and weak.