Archive for September 2013
Most citizens do not know about Common Core State Standards Initiative because the federal government incorporated it into the stimulus package of 2009. Many states signed on because of the promised stimulus moneys, but several are now trying to back out after gaining a fuller understanding of its implications.
If we want excellence in education, the Common Core curriculum is not the way to go. Education is not a “one-size-fits-all” process devoid of input on the local and parental level. Unproven and untested, it has drawn skeptical responses from many experts who doubt its academic effectiveness. Common Core requires students, their families and their teachers to submit to federally mandated course content, ineffective forms of assessment and extreme invasion of privacy. In addition, it would require taxpayers to carry the huge price tag, without the opportunity to voice objections.
Several states have rejected the Common Core program, and many others are seeking to withdraw from its requirements.
For the Missouri House Committee on Education, please weigh the grave effects that Common Core will have on our students and their families, our schools and economy, and ultimately our American culture and society. Please give serious consideration to serious citizen input. I urge the committee to do everything in its power to halt to the implementation of Common Core State Standards in our state.
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
Unsurprisingly, the feds’ central planning hasn’t worked. Laws like No Child Left Behind have backfired by setting unattainable benchmarks for student performance, such as 100% proficiency in all subjects by 2014, and threatening schools with government take-overs if they don’t achieve the impossible. Despite Washington’s best efforts and a threefold increase in school funding, test scores and graduation rates have stagnated since the early 1980s, as seen in the chart below.
After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. The truth started to unravel in September 2010, when the Department of Education required states to participate “in a consortium of States that… working towards jointly developing and adopting a common set of K-12 standards” in order to receive Race to the Top grants. Meanwhile, they rewarded $350 million of such grants to two such consortia of states developing assessment tests for Common Core, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Since there were two consortia of states, and they both adopted Common Core, the new Race to the Top requirement was a strong incentive for states to voluntarily accept the curriculum. When there’s multi-millions of dollars as a reward, who wouldn’t say yes?
Little did the states know that their acceptance opened the door for further federal intervention in their public schools. Unsurprisingly, the Department of Education attached strings to the $350 million given to the two consortia, giving itself the authority to oversee “item design and validation” of the assessment test. What exactly does this vague regulatory phase mean? Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute explains:
That means, most likely (in-depth information from the Department was off-line as of this writing) reviewing the specific questions that will go on the tests. And what is tested, of course, ultimately dictates what is taught, at least if the test results are to have any concrete impact, ranging from whether students advance to the next grade, to whether schools gain or lose funding. Since the ultimate point of uniform standards is to have essentially uniform accountability from state to state, they will have to have some concrete impact, rendering this a clear next step in a major Federal incursion into curricula.
Thus, it looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Fortunately, states like Indiana are waking up to the reality of Common Core’s educational coercion by proposing legislation to withdraw from the standards. Most of the states adopted Common Core within weeks of when the standards were released in June 2010 and before the federal government’s Race to the Top ruse began to be seen in September of that year. More states should reverse their hasty decision by delaying or repealing Common Core’s implementation for further consideration of what is best for their public schools. The future of America’s schoolchildren is too much to gamble on a federally-controlled curriculum that is clouded in mystery.
“We’ll be calling out the climate deniers who are standing in the way of progress in Washington,” Carson said in an e-mail Thursday, the same day a supporter of more environmental regulations told a Senate committee “the warming over the past 15 years has slowed.”
The OFA included targeting climate deniers as part of the group’s August agenda. The organization is now a 501(c)(4) group that focuses on mobilizing political support for issues advocated by the Obama administration.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking member of the committee, asked Thursday at the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing on global warming, “President Obama said, ‘the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.’ Do any of the witnesses agree with that statement? And if so, what is the data set you rely on?”
There was an eight-second pause, before Heidi Cullen, the chief climatologist with Climate Central, who was called as a witness by Democrats on the committee, spoke up. However, she contradicted what Obama said regarding temperature, while still asserting that global warming is a problem.
“I think right now we need to focus on the fact that the warming is happening very, very quickly. With respect to project of the future, we expect it to warm more quickly as we go forward,” Cullen told the committee. “So with respect to President Obama’s specific statement, I can’t comment on that. But, the bottom line is, greenhouse gasses have continued to move quickly in the atmosphere and the warming has continued.”
Vitter followed, “So you think the surface temperature increase has continued in the last 10 to 15 years?”
Cullen answered that atmosphere and temperature shouldn’t be the focus.
“Well, as I mentioned in my testimony, I think it’s important not to focus specifically on the atmosphere,” Cullen said. “As I said, the temperature rise has slowed in the atmosphere, despite continued warm decades, record-setting decades, the warming over the past 15 years has slowed, but it has went into other components of our climate system. So explaining the fact that the atmospheric temperature rise has slowed, it’s because the warming has gone into other components of our climate system, mostly notably the deep ocean. So the warming has by no means stopped. It’s merely penetrating into other aspects of our climate system.”
Organizing for Action notified supporters on Thursday of “Action August,” which would be the group’s agenda during the August recess for Congress. It included promoting global warming legislation, anti-gun legislation and other initiatives.
“While lawmakers are home for congressional recess, thousands of supporters will be holding events in key districts across the country,” Carson said in the e-mail Thursday. “It’s all about making sure members of Congress hear directly from the people they represent, on the issues that matter to all of us. We’re calling it Action August — and there will be plenty of ways to get involved, no matter where you live.”
The e-mail encouraged people to sign up for “Action August” alerts to be notified of events happening in their area. It identified comprehensive immigration reform as being “at the top of the list.” It also said supporters will be “telling the truth about Obamacare.”
“We’ll be calling out the climate deniers who are standing in the way of progress in Washington, and make sure the senators who hold the key votes on gun violence prevention hear from the people who sent them to Congress,” the e-mail continued.
During a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, Obama said, “The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years. Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record — faster than most models had predicted it would.”
During a Nov. 14, 2012 news conference, Obama said, “What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.”
At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago on May 30, Obama said, “But the flipside is we also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago.” At the same event, he said, “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change – but if you’ve got creative approaches, market-based approaches, tell me about them.”
At another Democratic fundraising event on April 21, 2011 in San Francisco, Obama said, “There are climate change deniers in Congress and when the economy gets tough, sometimes environmental issues drop from people’s radar screens. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that unless we are able to move forward in a serious way on clean energy that we’re putting our children and our grandchildren at risk.”
“At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations,” Storch told der Spiegel. “The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.”
Der Spiegel followed, “How long will it still be possible to reconcile such a pause in global warming with established climate forecasts?”
Storch answered, “If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”
A liberal friend solemnly warned me not to tell anyone I support the Tea Party. They’re all racists, wacko survivalists and birthers, she told me, impervious to anything I said about my pride in the Tea Party, and our mainstream issues: fiscal responsibility and constitutional, limited government. She knew we were racist because there were only white people at our rallies. No matter there’s not a black face at the anti-global warming groups she goes to, or in her neighborhood or church. It’s only conservatives who are judged guilty of racism before proven innocent.
Democrats believe that good and evil in this country is divided along party lines, with all the caring people in their party, and all the greedy, mean people in the other. They also believe that intelligence is doled out along party lines. Conservatives are morons while liberals are the most brilliant people ever seen.
I hear these comments every time I talk to Democrat friends, relatives and acquaintances. They are core to Democrat identity, keeping people loyal voters even as the economy tanks and poor communities flounder under Democrat policies.
It gets worse. Enclosed in their liberal bubble of superiority, Democrats can’t picture an intelligent person sincerely and rationally disagreeing. So they jump to the conclusion that conservatives don’t believe in their own ideas!
It’s true: Democrats can’t imagine anyone taking conservative ideas seriously, not even conservatives. They logically infer that Republicans are malevolent liars. We are just pretending to have our own ideas for how to set the country on the right track. When Republicans say they hate socialized medicine, they really mean they hate blacks. When Republicans say they want to respect and strengthen families, it means they hate gays. When they say people should pay for their own birth control, it means they hate women. When they say the right to bear arms is in our Constitution, it means they want school massacres. When they say we need to make Social Security solvent, it means they hate old people.
Republicans can’t really believe that individual responsibility is the only path to a free, good and prosperous life. We don’t mean it when we say a fiscally responsible government is necessary for a functioning economy and social safety net. The Democrats can see through all ridiculous ideas. It’s obvious that Republicans want the old to die, the poor to starve, the young to have no sex, homosexuals to be humiliated and women to have no rights. Above all, we are racist.
As my mother who grew up in Brooklyn would say, what a crock.
A liberal academic study on Obama’s election concluded that racism cost him five percent of Democratic votes. At the same time, nine percent of registered Republicans crossed party lines to vote for the first black President. Prejudice correlates with education, not party affiliation. A map by Swedish economists ranks all the countries in the globe on racism. The United States is among the most fair, with less than 4% prejudiced against blacks. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racist, more racist than whites.
So why do Democrats remain convinced that they alone accepted the Civil Rights movement? Because they quickly rejected the values of Martin Luther King and substituted Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Affirmative action and War on Poverty programs constitute the Democrat test of racism. You think people on welfare would have a better chance of escaping poverty if they are required to work? Rascist and cruel to the poor. You’ve read about the government report that Project Headstart is a complete failure and wonder if charter schools and strengthening the family are better ways to help children? Clearly racist and cruel to small children.
A study was widely reported in the liberal press before the 2012 election, allegedly proving that America is a racist country. People were asked if they agree or disagree with the following statements:
• “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without special favors.”
• “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.”
• “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.”
• “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.”
If Americans agree that blacks could achieve as much as whites with the same level of hard work they are judged racist. If you do not think blacks are handicapped by having ancestors who were slaves, that is now proof of racism. Anyone see a contradiction here? That used to be the definition of not being racist.
If you’ve noticed that over the past few years blacks get preferred treatment in hiring by police and fire departments, by diversity programs in corporations, by federal bidding procedures, in college admissions – most of these preferences required by law – that proves you’re a racist.
Liberals are convinced by this logic. To them it is common sense, irrefutable. No one they respect would disagree.
Racism researcher David Bositis “finds the (Tea Party) movement’s arguments about reckless federal spending unpersuasive”, so he concludes the Tea Party’s real motives are racist. He explains, ‘They know they can’t use any overtly racist language,’ he contends. ‘So they use coded language’-questioning the patriotism of the president or complaining about “socialist” schemes to redistribute wealth. Note that Bositis has no actual evidence. He makes that part of his proof – Tea Partiers hide their racism so well they never say (or do) anything racist! That proves they’re talking in code.
Danita Kilcullen, the founder of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale counters Bositis’ accusations:
“Nobody in the Tea Party movement that I know is a racist.” She notes that she attends a church with a black pastor, supports a black candidate (Allen West) in a local congressional race, and backs a Latino candidate (Marco Rubio) for U.S. Senate. When a protestor showed up at one of her group’s rallies with a racist sign, she says, she personally kicked him off the corner. “We absolutely don’t tolerate anything like that,” says Kilcullen.”
No matter. Liberals know what they know.
It is time for Republicans to go on the offensive. There is no coded language. We are not afraid and quite capable of saying exactly what we think. Everyone can see with their own eyes how the War on Poverty approach has played out. Democrats treat blacks like they can’t get into a college on their own merits, are too emotionally damaged to get out of the ghetto, and can’t be treated like capable adults. It’s demeaning and destructive.
The Nanny state is a nightmare of no future and no hope. Not just for ghetto blacks, but for all of us. We can’t afford a government that is spending as much as 100% of all our income (yes, it would take 100% taxes on everyone to pay Obama’s federal bills), squeezing out the private economy. We can’t afford a welfare underclass that doesn’t pull its own weight. We live in competitive world and need the best efforts of every American.
Personal initiative, responsibility and hard work are the only paths to success. They are G-d given gifts. They are liberated by our free-enterprise system. Government cannot give those gifts but it can destroy them. The Nanny State is depriving not just ghetto blacks, but our entire country of a future. Republicans have a better way.
Republican voters are fed up with our own pusillanimous leaders who don’t speak up clearly and forcefully and honestly. We are disgusted with the Republican elected officials who offered up that rodeo clown as a sacrificial lamb to the race-baiters out to lynch him. The answer to Democrat lies is more free speech on our part, not less.
If anything good came out of George Zimmerman’s trail in the court of public opinion, it is this: Democrats don’t get to define racism anymore. Their race baiting is too ugly, too destructive, too false, and too self-serving. If anything good came out of the IRS scandal it is this: the Tea Party is back. We’re proud of our values, we have a positive vision for our country, we believe in both freedom and equality as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Now we’ve got to win so we can put our values into practice. The country needs us.
The author volunteered in Project Headstart as a teenager, inspected tenements in Harlem for housing violations, served in the Peace Corps in Africa, became a clinical social worker and later a mystery author, writing books set in Kenya. She is regular contributor to AT.
The following written testimony by Mark Garrison, Ph.D. was entered to support MO SB 210 and HB 616 and end the implementation of Common Core State Standards:
EXPERT TESTIMONY OF MARK GARRISON, PH.D., IN OPPOSITION TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE (CCSSI).
March 3, 2013 Based on my research, I have concluded that the CCSSI should be opposed for four reasons.*
1. There is no evidence that the CCSSI will improve the quality of education, reduce inequalities, or ensure students are prepared to contribute to society or engage in higher learning. For example, researchers have compared states with higher standards to those with less challenging ones, and found that the existence of higher, better or clearer standards did not result in demonstrably better results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or other international tests. There is, however, a great deal of research that suggests the CCSSI will further narrow curriculum, further mechanizing teaching. It needs to be understood that the architects of the CCSSI mean to vastly increase the amount of testing (tests controlled by one of the two private testing consortia created with federal funds). Testing will include computer scoring of student essays, which raises a host of issues that I am certain parents will be very concerned about. Finally, after review of many CCSSI documents, I have come to the conclusion that the entire project treats students as “products” or “things” and not human beings. If parents knew the whole truth about what the CCSSI has in store for their children, I believe their opposition would be swift and unanimous.
2. Despite the name of the initiative, there is little evidence that the effort was “state lead.” Many state officials signed on to the CCSSI before the final standards were even written. The former commission of education in Texas, Robert Scott, has publically stated he was pressured by reformers to sign the Common Core Standards MOU. There is evidence that governors in other states compelled their education leaders to rubber stamp the CCSSI. As the legislatures of each state have been largely absent from the process, it is impossible that legislator constituencies were involved, making empty CCSSI advocates claims to have “parent support”. Few parents even know about the CCSSI or that their schools are now being restructured to meet the demands of the CCSSI.
3. The process by which the CCSSI has been adopted and implemented violates basic principles of the United States Constitution and the laws of the United States. The framers of the Constitution worked to construct a political system to avoid tyranny, which meant that governmental power could not be consolidated in one office or branch. Thus, framers insisted on the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial and executive branches, and a weak central government. Importantly, the right to operate schools was reserved to the States or the people themselves. Education was envisioned as one means to block tyranny through the force of “enlightened public opinion”. But education cannot serve this function if people lose control over their schools. The federal Department of Education, an executive branch, has nonetheless acted to make laws with its Race to the Top (RttT) initiative and its waivers to provisions of No Child Left Behind Act. While executive waivers have legal precedent, Secretary Duncan’s use of RttT funds and NCLB waivers as “incentives” for states to adopt the CCSSI, which is not rooted in existing law, is in fact a form of law making. Taken in conjunction with 1979 law prohibiting the Department of Education from having “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” (section 103b), the CCSSI adoption process is unconstitutional and violates existing federal law as well. And, how many legislatures know that the MOU for entry into one of the two Common Core assessment apparatuses (Missouri is a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) required alteration or elimination of any state laws that might interfere with the operation of the assessment consortia!
4. While the federal Department of Education is in violation of the law, the CCSSI represents something worse than a “federal power grab.” In fact, the illegal power of the federal government has been used to remove public power over education at the local, state and federal level and place it in the hands of four private (501c3) publically unaccountable corporations, who have strong connections to test publishers and the big private philanthropies secretly driving education reform. They are: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the two assessment apparatuses, the Partnership for Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Most telling is that the Common Core State Standards, standards that now govern curriculum, instruction and assessment across the country, are jointly “owned” by the NGA Center for Best Practices and the CCSSO! Both federal and state legislatures, not to mention local school boards, are complete removed from having a say.
I spent much of last week’s radio shows in conversations with proponents and opponents of the “Common Core.” (Other topics were covered of course. There is a world wide terror alert, for example, and then there was a long conversation with Davis Gaines on life in the theater, but there was a lot of Common Core talk.)
The last two transcripts of this series of interviews are now posted at the Transcripts page, one with Patricia Levesque, who is the CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and one with Emmett McGroarty, an opponent of the Common Core, who is with the American Principles Project.
Interviews earlier in the week on the subject were with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current Florida Senator Marco Rubio, as well as with Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, both of whom can fairly be described as neither opponents nor proponents. As noted, those five interviews are also at the Transcripts page.
Ten conclusions, based on these interviews and a ton of email and yet another round of unexpected “Common Core” questions at an unrelated event on another topic with Dennis Prager in Sacramento on Thursday night:
1. Common Core is a well-intended effort at school reform, aimed at building an achievement standard floor on which all American public education is expected to stand.
2. Common Core is perceived as a dumbed-down “ceiling” by some, an ideological imposition of federal standards by others, and an ideological exercise by many.
3. Political momentum against the Common Core is large and growing at an almost exponential rate. Proponents of the Core set out to persuade elites, not parents and activists, and this has created widespread suspicion among groups used to being excluded from policy making and already feeling as though policy makers are insulated from voters.
4. The overreach of the Obama Administration is greatly resented and Common Core is seen as a part of that overreach. Tying adoption of the Common Core to federal education dollars is understood to be blackmail of the standard D.C. type, and not unlike the attempted jam down of Medicaid expansion via Obamacare which the Supreme Court struck down even as it upheld the individual mandate in the summer of 2012.
5. There are “big data” implications of the Common Core, and in this environment of sudden and widespread hostility to the collection of data which could possibly be misused by government in the future, the reality of the vast collection of data on students is hitting at exactly the wrong time for pro-Common Core forces.
6. There is a whole lot of money being made via the adaptation of the Common Core, just as any enormous government program creates wealth among those provided mandated services, testing and supervision. Opponents of the Common Core have begun to “follow the money” and the MSM will not be far behind.
7. There is very little upside and enormous downside for center-right politicians to be pro-Common Core. Education reform is a huge issue on the center-right, and there are many causes to promote such as charter public schools. Candidates seeking to attract pro-reform votes can do so by singling out many reforms other than the Common Core, support for which –fairly or unfairly– will in fact cost them votes.
8. There is very little political upside for Common Core as teachers’ union are at best ambivalent about it. Many fine teachers who have emailed or called me this week strongly support Common Core reform, but the political realities are heavily stacked against the innovation.
9. Local school board members and administrators should be prepared to pause and listen to criticism as the anti-Core movement spreads, and not to react defensively to it, even if the local district is responding to state mandate. Rather, every district that can do so should stress that the Core is a floor, and that its ceiling is going to be much, much higher, and that its children’s data will not be shared if it has anything to say about it.
10. Common Core proponents had better huddle quickly and develop a systematic, wide-spread and responsive outreach to Core opponents or the work they have done will be undone, and quickly. It won’t be long until “Sweeps Weeks” find the right viewer demographic with “Is the Common Core Dumbing Down Your Kid?” One of the key charges of the anti-Core folks, for example, is that algebra is being moved from the 8th grade to the 9th grade. I don’t know if that is true, or if true, if it is a good thing, a bad thing, or a “it depends” thing, but the conflict is going to make for great television, and pro-Core people have to defend a change that has nameless, faceless Washington D.C. bureaucrats dictating via the purse what must be taught, and collecting data on kids.
My last observation is not about the Common Core but about the MSM: It has again largely missed –wholly missed in some places– a major story from the world of education which their readers and watchers are finding about via new media. Jay Mathews of course was up to speed, but this is front page stuff with great story potential (follow the money, again) and enormous implications or state and local politics and indeed for federal elections in the next cycle.
Hugh Hewitt is an author, law professor and broadcast journalist. Hugh Hewitt is the host of the “Hugh Hewitt Show,” broadcast live from Southern California each afternoon. Hugh Hewitt conceived and hosted the 1996 national PBS series “Searching for God in America.” Hugh Hewitt is the author of numerous books including “A Mormon in the White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney“.
Reblogged from Townhill
By Sierra Rayne
In a thought-provoking article from The Atlantic, Jonathan Adler — a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law — lays out what he sees as “A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change.” There are a number of statements regarding anthropogenic climate change (ACC) and property rights in this publication that warrant a more detailed discussion.
First off, Adler states that “[b]oth sides pretend as if the climate policy debate is, first and foremost, about science, rather than policy. This is not so. There is substantial uncertainty about the scope, scale, and consequences of anthropogenic warming, and will be for some time, but this is not sufficient justification for ignoring global warming or pretending that climate change is not a serious problem.”
The logic behind this statement eludes me. If one cannot accurately define “the scope, scale, and consequences” of a problem, how does one know it is a “serious problem”? In short, one cannot and one does not. In contrast to Adler’s claims, the climate policy debate is all about science, and the science is far from settled (despite what many will tell you). We know very little about our planet’s environmental systems, and this low state of knowledge will exist for many years.
Coherent policy cannot be founded on poorly defined science, and as such, it is far too premature to be discussing the implementation of policies at this point in time. We can — and should — discuss potential policies as a preparatory measure, but any notions of policy implementation must rationally be delayed until we better understand the science. In a legal analogy, one cannot determine the punishment if one does not understand whether or not a crime has been committed, and if one has, what the true nature of that crime is.
Adler also raises the point of property rights. His assessment of the law is correct, but it does not necessarily support action on climate change. Adler’s views can be readily determined from the following statements he makes:
“It is a well established principle in the Anglo-American legal tradition that one does not have the right to use one’s own property in a manner that causes harm to one’s neighbor.There are common law cases gong [sic] back 400 years establishing this principle and international law has long embraced a similar norm. As I argued at length in this paper, if we accept this principle, even non-catastrophic warming should be a serious concern, as even non-catastrophic warming will produce the sorts of consequences that have long been recognized as property rights violations, such as the flooding of the land of others.
My argument is that the same general principles that lead libertarians and conservatives to call for greater protection of property rights should lead them to call for greater attention to the most likely effects of climate change. It is a well recognized principle of common law that if company A is flooding the land of person B, it is irrelevant whether company A generates lots of economic prosperity for the local community (including B). A’s action would still violate B’s property rights, and B would be entitled to relief of some sort. By the same token, if the land of a farmer in Bangladesh is flooded, due in measurable and provable part to human-induced climate change, why would he be any less entitled to redress than a farmer who has his land flooded by his neighbor’s land-use changes? Property rights should not be sacrificed as part of some utilitarian calculus. Libertarians readily accept this principle when government planners violate property rights in the name of economic development (see e.g., Kelo v. New London).Yet they seem to abandon their commitment to property rights when it comes to global warming.”
It is indeed a “well established principle in the Anglo-American legal tradition that one does not have the right to use one’s own property in a manner that causes harm to one’s neighbor.” But, quite frankly, one can imagine that if such a law were rigorously applied to all reasonable situations, society would grind to a halt.
For the sake of the subsequent discussion, we will assume that ACC is occurring and is — as defined in its name — a result of greenhouse gas emissions by humans into the atmosphere. What are the effects of ACC? Changes in the intensity, duration, and frequency of various climate descriptors, such as temperature and precipitation, and alterations to the earth system as a result (i.e., changes in how well specific plants grow in certain locations, alterations to groundwater levels and streamflows, etc. … the list is endless from a scientific perspective). That’s fine, but what about all the non-ACC related activities humans routinely engage in each day that have similar affects on the property rights of others? Why do we not litigate all of these infinite property rights transgressions?
A couple examples are in order.
Your neighbor could plant a tree in his backyard. This tree will grow and deplete (via evapotranspiration) the groundwater table around it (roughly in a cone of depression). Even if the roots of this tree do not extend under your property, the cone of groundwater depression might. This induced lowering of the groundwater table under your yard could result in the death of trees and/or lawn on your property, or necessitate you needing to water your property more frequently and with greater intensity than you would have had to had your neighbor not planted this tree.
The negative property rights impacts are obvious: the inconvenience and/or extra costs from the additional watering required, or perhaps even the loss of your landscaping if the additional required watering is forbidden due to local water restrictions.
Can you sue your neighbor for such a property rights violation? If not, why not? If so, imagine all the potential lawsuits we should see occurring. And the effects on your property rights from this example may be as serious as one may expect under ACC. The effects of ACC will have high heterogeneity. Some individuals will be strongly affected versus some not affected at all — at least within the error of reliable measurement.
One could readily extend this example to larger pieces of land with differing neighboring effects and different land uses. For example, what if you are a farmer and your neighbor plants a row of trees on his property such that the trees block the prevailing wind that crosses from his property onto your property?
Your property perhaps will now develop a frost pocket that kills your crops, or the increased humidity on your property due to the neighbor’s windbreak results in increased disease incidence on your crops, or perhaps the change in the microclimate (more accurately, small-scale mesoclimate) on your property due to the windshading alters the type of crop you can grow. Can you sue? If not, why not? If so, then we have an infinite number of possible serious lawsuits because these types of property rights effects have been going on since the start of human civilization, and they will continue forever. One cannot make any use of one’s land without impacting one’s neighbors in some fashion (often negatively).
The second example.
You live in a dense suburban/urban environment. Your current neighbor has a vegetated lot, but a new owner removes the vegetation and installs an asphalt parking lot that acts like a heat sink during the summertime. Previously, you never (or very rarely) had to air condition your home either during the daytime or nighttime due to the cooling influence of your neighbor’s vegetated lot. Now you need to air condition your home nearly continuously all summer due to the heat absorbing and releasing properties of the parking lot. Can you sue your neighbor for a property rights violation? If not, why not? If so, then — once again — we have an infinite number of possible lawsuits that will grind modern society to a halt.
Off the top of my head, I can think of many more equivalent examples from both urban and rural settings, all of which offer the exact same property rights violations as would be expected to occur from ACC. If we applied the property rights principles that Adler is referring to in a uniform manner across all such cases with equivalent results as that expected from ACC, society would no longer function and almost all citizens would be engaged in continuous lawsuits for compensation from property-rights violations.
So why do we focus on anthropogenic climate change-induced property rights violations that are — in general — of similar magnitude and effect as the other examples we can imagine? Because the criminal is easier to catch. In other words, ACC has an easy to identify and control culprit — greenhouse gas emissions. But the criminal effect is no different than all the other property rights violations that occur each day by culprits that are far more difficult to identify as a singularity. Since when do we make and apply laws based on the ease of identifying and capturing a culprit? We obviously don’t, or else we would not penalize murderers that are difficult to catch, all the while throwing the proverbial book at the murderers who remain at the scene of the crime holding a sign admitting their guilt.
In other words, Adler’s property rights arguments are not persuasive. We regularly allow activities as part of the normal course of civilization that have the same magnitude of effects as expected in many locations from ACC, and yet do not litigate each and every one of them (and if we allowed such unfettered litigation, as can be said once again, society would grind to a halt).
Assuming ACC is occurring, we should not treat its effects in a manner different than we do any other so-called property rights violations of similar type and magnitude. It is also not wise to make either law or policy decisions based on extreme cases. For example, we routinely balance the nature of the legal system between the rights of the innocent and the need to punish the guilty. We could design a legal system whereby no guilty individuals escape conviction (or at least very few do), but such a system would undoubtedly capture too many wrongfully convicted innocent individuals. So there is a societal sacrifice to be had, the boundary of which is determined by vigorous public debate. Similarly, we should not make climate change law or policy decisions based on a relatively small number of extreme cases (e.g., flooding in Bangladesh). Rather, the effects — and prescriptions — must be considered much more holistically.
The NEA struggles to remain solidly aligned with the Democratic Party although the union opposes most of Pres. Obama’s education policies. At the 2013 National Education Association convention in Atlanta, union leadership both promoted Common Core standards and fought against them. The union seems afraid to directly rebuke President Obama and his policies. Delegates introduced — but failed to pass — two measures that condemned Obama’s education policies outright and were critical of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; both measures called on Obama to fire Duncan.
Common Core is inextricably linked to the Obama administration, although the administration and Common Core proponents often deny this. Arne Duncan bragged about Obama’s role in Common Core creation at a UNESCO meeting in Paris on Nov. 4, 2010. He stated:
In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to ‘develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st-century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.’ Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.
While NEA union leadership and delegates circled the wagons to protect themselves from Common Core at the convention, they were unwilling to step away from politics to speak directly against it, or to speak up for educating students well.
The NEA passed several “New Business Items” designed to protect teachers from Common Core. Some observers ask: What about the students? What about the future of public education? Although the NEA could be a force against Common Core and the federal takeover of American education, the union seems too aligned with the Democratic political machine to do more than squeak about testing that could negatively impact their own job security and paychecks.
NEA executive director John Stocks railed against “privateers and profiteers peddling their false promises,” yet the delegates passed a Board of Directors proposed item agreeing to assist union affiliates, parent organizations, and communities in “advocating for and developing implementation plans to transition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and better assessments.”
Union President Dennis Van Roekel decried “other people’s solutions.” He condemned the idea that “anyone can be an education reformer” and criticized those who are motivated by “profits. Big profits.” Does Van Roekel not know the history of Common Core development? Is he unaware of the huge profits being realized by the education support companies and organizations thanks specifically to Common Core?
Common Core Tests
Linda Darling-Hammond is developing the very tests that union members are fighting against, yet Darling-Hammond was a speaker at a 2013 NEA convention event. Union Executive Director Stocks hailed Darling-Hammond as “a renowned education expert.” She is a prominent proponent of CC, was the head of Obama’s education policy transition team, and is senior research advisor for the SBAC Common Core test development team.
Delegates passed a new business item asking for “a moratorium on using the outcome of the tests associated with the Common Core standards, except to inform instruction. . . .” Some delegates argued that a moratorium wasn’t enough and that no high-stakes testing should ever occur. Testing is called high-stakes when it can be a factor in teachers receiving merit pay, rather than the usual union pay standard of seniority. The union demanded that schools “limit the reliance on and investment in high-stakes standardized tests, and decrease the reliance on CCSS-related tests in evaluating teacher performance.” They adopted plans for the NEA to “develop a comprehensive strategy to affirm [their] opposition to the excessive and inappropriate use of high-stakes tests.”
In a convention speech, union leader Stocks decried “[i]gnorant politicians who can’t seem to understand that learning is more than testing.” At the convention, it was decided that the NEA will send a letter to the National Conference of State Legislatures urging that all state legislators take the new Common Core standardized tests. The letter will demand that the legislators’ test scores be published. Why the union chose to go after state legislators regarding Common Core is perplexing. CC was foisted upon legislators and voters, many of whom are only now finding out the negative impact it will have on public education.
The NEA union wants American students to adapt to Common Core standards and tests but they would prefer that Common Core doesn’t affect teachers.
NEA Executive Director John Stocks urged delegates at the 2013 Convention to be “social justice patriots” who stand “with the LGBTQQ community against bigotry and for marriage equality.” He heralded “that wonderful Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act” and gave thanks to NEA general counsel Alice O’Brien and the NEA legal team for their joint submission of a brief to the Supreme Court targeting DoMA.
The board of directors and delegates brought forth and passed several “New Business Items” that directly relate to sexual identity issues. Even topics not expressly or uniquely about LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) issues were presented as such at the convention and in union literature. Bullying, the number of psychological counselors at schools, and suicide prevention were all discussed under the umbrella of helping LGBTQQ teachers and students.
Delegates passed a New Business Item (NBI) submitted by the NEA Board of Directors that states: “The NEA shall encourage the Obama administration to ensure all legally married people have equal access to federal benefits regardless of their state of residence.” An impassioned plea in favor of this was given by a delegate who fervently wishes to have benefits such as his health care coverage and his pension cover his “husband” in the state where they reside, which has not approved gay marriage. If the Obama administration acted on this, it would amount to de facto institution of gay marriage in every state.
A speaker who encouraged fellow delegates to vote against this item told the assembly that the union’s strong focus on alternative sexual lifestyles is troubling to NEA members in his state, and contributes to the decline in union membership.
Along with the NBI, the convention also passed Legislative Amendment 16, stating that the NEA supports “ensuring all legally married people have equal access to federal benefits regardless of their state of residence.” Legislative Amendments become the agenda the union pushes when lobbying the U.S. Congress.
Educating Students the
The NEA continues to move the gay agenda full speed ahead in public schools. Two new business items adopted by NEA delegates aim to ensure that students are taught about LGBTQQ people. Some delegates objected to the suggested curriculum, which is in conjunction with The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Those delegates claim the organization is extreme and the curriculum is inappropriate for students. The items that were adopted are:
NBI 21. NEA will use existing resources, assist state affiliates in urging policy makers on the district and state level to push for legislation similar to California’s FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48) that requires schools to integrate factual information about social movements, current events, and history of LGBTQ people and people with disabilities into existing social studies lessons along with all historically underrepresented groups.
NBI 30. NEA will encourage all states and NEA Affiliates to use existing means of communication to promote developmentally appropriate instructional resources in order to help all educators integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, people, and issues into their instruction. . . .
Another NBI calling for more school counselors and social workers was adopted in part to help students who question their sexual identity or are facing problems because they are not heterosexual. During the “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Committee” hearing, the consensus was that it was outrageous for school counselors or social workers to inform parents when told by a student that the student has chosen an alternative sexual lifestyle.
An African-American delegate took the floor of the convention to express anger that the struggle for racial equality was repeatedly presented by the NEA as closely related to the LGBTQQ quest for equal marital and other rights. He said that the struggle for racial equality was not at all the same thing and urged the NEA to stop making the comparison.
A-2. Educational Opportunity for All. The Association believes that all schools must be accredited under uniform standards established by the appropriate agencies in collaboration with the Association and its affiliates.
A-6. Parental Involvement. The Association strongly opposes so-called “trigger” laws which circumvent authentic parental and community involvement.
A-12. Use of Closed Public School Buildings. The Association believes that closed public school buildings should be sold or leased only to those organizations that do not provide direct educational services to students and/or are not in direct competition with public schools.
A-15. Financial Support of Public Education. The Association believes that:
- Funds must be provided for programs to alleviate race, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination and to eliminate portrayal of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identification stereotypes in the public schools.
- Full-day, every day kindergarten programs should be fully funded.
- Federal, state, and, as appropriate, local governments should provide funds sufficient to make pre-kindergarten available for all three- and four-year-old children.
A-16. Federal Financial Support for Education. The Association opposes any federal legislation, laws, or regulations that provide funds, goods, or services to sectarian schools.
A-26. Voucher Plans and Tuition Tax Credits. The Association opposes voucher plans, tuition tax credits, or other such funding arrangements that pay for students to attend sectarian schools. The Association also believes that any private school or agency that receives public funding through voucher plans, tax credits, or other funding/financial arrangements must be subject to all accountability measures and regulations required of public schools.
A-35. Federally or State-Mandated Choice/Parental Option Plans. The Association believes that federally or state-mandated parental option or choice plans compromise free, equitable, universal, and quality public education for every student. Therefore, the Association opposes such federally or state-mandated choice or parental option plans.
B-1. Early Childhood Education. The National Education Association supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight. The Association also supports a high-quality program of transition from home and/or preschool to the public kindergarten or first grade. The Association also believes that early childhood education programs should include a full continuum of services for parents/guardians and children, including child-care, child development, developmentally appropriate and diversity-based curricula, special education, and appropriate bias-free screening devices. The Association believes that federal legislation should be enacted to assist in organizing the implementation of fully funded early childhood education programs offered through the public schools. These programs must be available to all children on an equal basis and should include mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.
B-11. Class Size. The National Education Association believes that excellence in the classroom can best be attained by small class size. The Association also believes in optimal class sizes in regular programs and a proportionately lower number in programs for students with exceptional needs. The Association further believes in establishing workload maximums for all curricular areas, not to exceed the recommendations of their respective national organizations.
B-12. Diversity. The National Education Association believes that similarities and differences among race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, geographic location, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, physical ability, size, occupation, and marital, parental, or economic status form the fabric of a society. The Association also believes that education should foster the values of appreciation and acceptance of the various qualities that pertain to people as individuals and as members of diverse populations.
B-13. Racial Diversity Within Student Populations. The Association believes that to achieve or maintain racial diversity, it may be necessary for elementary/secondary schools, colleges, and universities to take race into account in making decisions as to student admissions, assignments, and/or transfers.
B-14. Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Discrimination. Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion must be eliminated. The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration. Plans, activities, and programs must —
- Increase respect, understanding, acceptance, and sensitivity toward individuals and groups in a diverse society composed of such groups as American Indians/Alaska natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, and people with disabilities
- Eliminate discrimination and stereotyping in curricula, textbooks, resource and instructional materials, activities, etc.
- Foster the dissemination and use of nondiscriminatory and nonstereotypical language, resources, practices, and activities
- Integrate an accurate portrayal of the roles and contributions of all groups throughout history across curricula, particularly groups that have been underrepresented historically
- Eliminate subtle practices that favor the education of one student over another on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, or religion
- Encourage all members of the educational community to examine assumptions and prejudices, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, and homophobia, that might limit the opportunities and growth of students and education employees
- Offer positive and diverse role models in our society, including the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of diverse education employees in our public schools
- Coordinate with organizations and concerned agencies that promote the contributions, heritage, culture, history, and special health and care needs of diverse population groups.
B-16. Hispanic Education. The Association believes in efforts that provide for grants and scholarships for higher education that will facilitate the recruitment, entry, and retention of Hispanics; involvement of Hispanics in lobbying efforts for federal programs; involvement of Hispanic educators in developing educational materials used in classroom instruction.
B-24. Education of Refugee and Undocumented Children and Children of Undocumented Immigrants. The Association supports access for undocumented students to financial aid and in-state tuition to state colleges and universities. The Association further believes that students who have resided in the United States for at least five years at the time of high school graduation should be granted legal residency status, and allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship.
B-30. Educational Programs for English Language Learners. The Association believes that ELL students should be placed in bilingual education programs to receive instruction in their native language from qualified teachers until such time as English proficiency is achieved.
B-39. Multicultural Education. The National Education Association believes that Multicultural education should promote the recognition of individual and group differences and similarities in order to reduce racism, homophobia, ethnic and all other forms of prejudice, and discrimination and to develop self-esteem.
B-40. Global Education. The National Education Association believes that global education imparts an appreciation of our interdependency in sharing the world’s resources.
B-42. School-to-Work/Career Education. The National Education Association believes that career education must be interwoven into the total educational system and should include programs in gender-free career awareness and exploration to aid students in career course selection.
B-48. Family Life Education. The Association believes that programs should be established for both students and parents/guardians and supported at all educational levels to promote —
- The development of self-esteem
- An understanding of societal issues and problems related to children, spouses, parents/guardians, domestic partners, older generation family members, and other family members.
The Association also believes that education in these areas must be presented as part of an anti-biased, culturally sensitive program.
B-49. Environmental Education. The Association supports educational programs that promote —
- An awareness of the effects of past, present, and future population growth patterns on world civilization, human survival, and the environment
- Solutions to environmental problems such as nonrenewable resource depletion, pollution, climate change, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation and deposition
- The recognition of and participation in such activities as Earth Day
- The understanding of the value of the world’s ecosystems and of sustainable practices
- Student preparation for careers in the green jobs sector.
B-51. Sex Education. The Association recognizes that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in providing the instruction. Teachers and health professionals must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits. The Association also believes that to facilitate the realization of human potential, it is the right of every individual to live in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality and encourages affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs. Such programs should include information on sexual abstinence, birth control, family planning, diversity of culture and diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification, sexually transmitted diseases, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and homophobia.
B-52. HIV/AIDS Education. The National Education Association believes that educational institutions should establish comprehensive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) education programs as an integral part of the school curriculum.
B-60. Education on Peace and International Understanding. The National Education Association believes that educational strategies for teaching peace and justice issues should include the role of individuals, social movements, international and nongovernmental organizations. Such curricular materials should also cover major contributing factors to conflict, such as economic disparity, demographic variables, unequal political power and resource distribution, and the indebtedness of the developing world.
B-66. Standardized Testing of Students. The National Education Association believes that standardized tests should be used only to improve the quality of education and instruction for students. The Association opposes the use of standardized tests when —
- Used as the criterion for the reduction or withholding of any educational funding
- Results are used to compare students, teachers, programs, schools, communities, and states
- Scores are used to track students
- Students with special needs or limited English proficiency are required to take the same tests as regular education students without modifications and/or accommodations.
B-71. Conflict Resolution Education. The National Education Association supports the adoption and use, at all educational levels, of proven conflict resolution strategies, materials, and activities by school districts, education employees, students, parents/guardians, and security personnel as well as the school community to encourage nonviolent resolution of interpersonal and societal conflicts.
B-82. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.
The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
C-16. Extremist Groups. The National Education Association condemns the philosophy and practices of extremist groups and urges active opposition to all such movements that are inimical to the ideals of the Association.
C-25. Comprehensive School Health, Social, and Psychological Programs and Services. The National Education Association believes that every child should have direct and confidential access to comprehensive health, social, and psychological programs and services. The Association believes that schools should provide —
- A planned, sequential health education curriculum for pre-K through adult education that integrates various health topics (such as drug abuse, the dangers of performance-enhancing dietary herbal supplements, violence, safety issues, universal precautions, and HIV education)
- Counseling programs that provide developmental guidance and broad-based interventions and referrals
- Comprehensive school-based, community-funded student health care clinics that provide basic physical and mental health, and health care services (which may include diagnosis and treatment)
- If deemed appropriate by local choice, family-planning counseling and access to birth control methods with instruction in their use.
C-26. School Guidance and Counseling Programs. The National Education Association believes that guidance and counseling programs should be integrated into the entire education system, pre-K through higher education.
C-31. Student Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification. The National Education Association believes that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification, should be afforded equal opportunity and guaranteed a safe and inclusive environment within the public education system. The Association also believes that, for students who are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identification, every school district and educational institution should provide counseling services and programs that deal with high suicide and dropout rates and the high incidence of teen prostitution.
C-32. Suicide Prevention Programs. The National Education Association believes that evidenced-based suicide prevention programs must be developed and implemented. The Association urges its affiliates to ensure that these programs are an integral part of the school program.
D-8. Hiring Policies and Practices for Teaching Positions. The National Education Association believes that hiring policies and practices must be nondiscriminatory and include provisions for the recruitment of a diverse teaching staff.
D-22. Competency Testing of Licensed Teachers. The National Education Association believes that competency testing must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers.
E-3. Selection and Challenges of Materials and Teaching Techniques. The Association deplores pre-publishing censorship, book-burning crusades, and attempts to ban books from school library media centers and school curricula.
E-10. Academic and Professional Freedom. Academic freedom includes the rights of teachers and learners to explore and discuss divergent points of view. A teacher shall not be fired, transferred, reassigned, removed from his or her position, or disciplined for refusing to suppress the free expression rights of students. Professional freedom includes the teachers’ right to evaluate, criticize, and/or advocate their personal point of view concerning the policies and programs of the schools. Furthermore, teachers must be free to depart from mandated scripted learning programs, pacing charts, and classroom assessments without prejudice or punishment.
F-1. Nondiscriminatory Personnel Policies/Affirmative Action. The National Education Association believes that personnel policies and practices must guarantee that no person be employed, retained, paid, dismissed, suspended, demoted, transferred, retired or harassed because of race, color, national origin, cultural diversity, accent, religious beliefs, residence, physical disability, political activities, professional association activity, age, size, marital status, family relationship, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identification. Affirmative action plans and procedures that encourage active recruitment and employment of ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and men in under-represented education categories should be developed and implemented.
F-2. Pay Equity/Comparable Worth. The “market value” means of establishing pay cannot be the final determinant of pay scales since it too frequently reflects the race and sex bias in our society.
F-50. Medication and Medical Services in Schools. The Association believes that education employees who are not licensed medical personnel should be protected from all liability if they are required to administer medication or perform medical services.
H-1. The Education Employee as a Citizen. The Association urges its members to become politically involved and to support the political action committees of the Association and its affiliates.
H-7. National Health Care Policy. The National Education Association believes that affordable, comprehensive health care, including prescription drug coverage, is the right of every resident. The Association supports the adoption of a single-payer health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
H-11. Statehood for the District of Columbia. The Association supports efforts to achieve statehood for the District of Columbia.
I-1. Peace and International Relations. The Association urges all nations to develop treaties and disarmament agreements that reduce the possibility of war. The Association also believes that such treaties and agreements should prevent the placement of weapons in outer space. The Association believes that the United Nations furthers world peace and promotes the rights of all people by preventing war, racism, and genocide.
I-2. International Court of Justice. The Association urges participation by the United States in deliberations before the court.
I-3. International Criminal Court. The Association believes that the United States should ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and recognize and support its authority and jurisdiction.
I-9. Global Climate Change. The Association believes that humans must take steps to change activities that contribute to global climate change.
I-17. Family Planning. The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.
I-18. The Right to Organize. The Association also believes that members have the right to have payroll deduction of both Association membership dues and voluntary political contributions.
I-22. Immigration. The Association opposes any immigration policy that denies educational opportunities to immigrants and their children regardless of their immigration status.
I-33. Freedom of Religion. The Association opposes any federal legislation or mandate that would require school districts to schedule a moment of silence.
I-34. Gun-Free Schools and the Regulation of Deadly Weapons. The Association believes that strict prescriptive regulations are necessary for the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and resale of handguns and ammunition magazines. A mandatory background check and a mandatory waiting period should occur prior to the sale of all firearms.
I-47. Elimination of Discrimination. The National Education Association is committed to the elimination of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, and all other forms of discrimination. The Association encourages its members and all other members of the educational community to engage in courageous conversations in order to examine assumptions, prejudices, discriminatory practices, and their effects.
I-53. Right of Redress for Descendants of Slaves. The Association believes that the descendants of those subjected to slavery in the U.S. have the right to seek redress for the injustices inflicted upon their ancestors.
I-58. Linguistic Diversity. The Association believes that efforts to legislate English as the official language disregard cultural pluralism; deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment; and must be challenged.
I-61. Equal Opportunity for Women. The Association supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution (such as the Equal Rights Amendment). The Association urges its affiliates to support ratification of such an amendment. The Association also supports the enactment and full funding of the Women’s Educational Equity Act. The Association endorses the use of nonsexist language.
The above text is excerpted from NEA Resolutions adopted at the 2013 NEA Convention. Much language has been omitted, but no words have been added or changed.