The NEA: At Last, Something Everyone Can Agree On

If Larry Sands is to be believed. From his article in City Journal:

On the last day of the National Education Association’s convention this summer, its outgoing general counsel, Bob Chanin, gave a speech for the ages. After sharing fond recollections of his 41 years as the NEA’s top lawyer, he switched gears and started lobbing grenades at “conservative and right-wing bastards,” including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. The NEA and its affiliates, by contrast, were “the nation’s leading advocates for public education and the type of liberal social and economic agenda that these groups find objectionable.” Chanin’s glowing portrait of the NEA was wildly wrong, of course, but so was his characterization of the union’s opponents. People of all political stripes—not just right-wing “bastards”—are starting to realize that the single biggest impediment to education reform is the NEA itself.

I wouldn’t have put it quite as baldly as he did in the last sentence, but he’s right: the NEA is holding up progress, and as long as it has the political clout it doesn, public education in the U.S. (esp. re math and science) will never be what it should.

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