The National Education Association (NEA)—national parent teachers’ union of the Washington Education Association (WEA)—launched a campaign that, ironically, champions school equity. It asks, “Do you know a school where we must fight for equity and opportunity?”
Why is it ironic? The NEA—along the WEA—have pitched themselves squarely against the fight for school equity and opportunity by filing lawsuits against the solution to equity and opportunity in underprivileged areas, charter schools. NEA donated $250,000 to the anti-charter school campaign in Washington State. Rather than welcome charter schools as an ideal opportunity to reform education, especially in poor areas, teachers’ unions have fought tooth-and-nail to maintain a broken and inefficient system that best serves union executives, not children.
The recent comments of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reveal all you need to know about the deterioration of education caused by teachers’ unions. Of course, Cuomo’s comments are all the more significant because he is a Democrat—the party that has fiercely helped unions like the NEA maintain the status quo. Cuomo said, “If (the public) understood what was happening with education to their children, there would be an outrage in this city. I’m telling you, they would take City Hall down brick by brick.”
Cuomo went on to challenge a teacher union member who said he represents the students. “No, you don’t,” Cuomo told him. “You represent the teachers. Teacher salaries, teacher pensions, teacher tenure, teacher vacation rights. I respect that. But don’t say you represent the students.”
The NEA’s campaign certainly makes it appear as though it ready to fight for school equity and opportunity—of course, it is a mere public relations ploy. But, it does raise the question: Will the WEA follow its national parent and favor school choice and public charter schools, which can focus on students otherwise trapped in their poor neighborhood public school?