News Analysis

America's largest teachers' union presents its 'playbook' to the Biden-Harris team

The NEA endorsed Biden back in March and mobilized in support of his campaign. Now, in return for that support, they have released the plans they want enacted for education in the United States.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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The National Education Association, a teachers union that is the largest union in the nation at nearly 3 million members, has presented its priorities to the Biden-Harris team. The NEA endorsed Biden back in March and mobilized in support of his campaign.

Now, in return for that support, they have released the plans they want enacted for education in the United States. They want debt relief, and also for "Racial inequities caused by decades of unjust funding, white supremacy, and anti-immigration policies" to be addressed.

In their "playbook," they claim "it's all on the table." Smaller class sizes are something every parent can get behind, but at a time when unions are advocating for no in-person classes at all, they are also making increasingly progressive demands that will decrease education options in the US.

No options other than public school

The NEA wants to do away with charter schools, demanding that the Biden Harris team "oppose all charter school expansion that undermines traditional public schools."

They don't want federal funding to go to charter schools, don't want any charter school management companies to be "authorized or operated by local school districts." They want charter schools, which often undertake different methods and means of accountability, to be forced to operate under the same, union-negotiated regulations as public schools.

And they entirely oppose any voucher program that allows parents to take their tax dollars and spend them on the education that works best for their family. They want the federal government to "Oppose the enactment of any new voucher program, including education savings accounts and tuition tax credit schemes, or the expansion of existing programs."

They don't want parents to be able to save for elementary or secondary education, either, and want to prevent parents from using their 529 funds to pay for those schools.

No more funding to private school scholarships for children in Washington, DC. They want to strip children of promise of $20 million to attend private schools despite DC's failing school system.

Feds should pay for college for all

As regards college, the NEA wants all community colleges to be federally funded, and to "eliminate costs for the first four years at all public higher education institutions." This is happening while Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with many in the progressive wing of the Democrat party, are calling for student loans to be wiped out entirely.

Existing student loan rules state that even when a person files for bankruptcy, they are not able to erase their student loan debt. The NEA wants bankruptcy as relief from student loan debt to be possible.

Additionally, the NEA wants funding to go specifically to schools founded on the basis of identity. "Increase funding for institutional aid programs and capital financing that provide support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Asian-Pacific-Islander-Serving Institutions."

Curriculum control

The NEA wants the federal government to implement a Community Schools model, to "support an adequately and equitably resourced and racially just education system." This would turn schools into "community centers—open all day, every day to everyone.

The NEA says that Community Schools "bring together academic coursework, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement under one roof."

This would mean the implementation of "culturally relevant curriculum," and "positive behavior practices that incorporate social and cultural considerations." Much of the Community Schools model is about supporting the community at large, and not about education for children directly.

The NEA wants federal funding for this program, and for the feds to only back "improvement strategies" that take adhere to union negotiated agreements, take the desires of the community as a whole into account through the use of "community stakeholders," and requires schooling to only be provided by "public entities and public employees."

Increase in federal funding

$175 billion to be distributed to public schools across the nation to recover from coronavirus even though so many students are not currently being educated adequately in the nations largest school districts.

$12 billion for national wi-fi infrastructure for public schools and public school students, including funds to provide connected devices for students at their homes. These funds are asked for as part of the Heroes Act, which is a coronavirus relief package that has not yet made it through the House of Representatives.

Increase federal funding to local school districts by 5 percent, under something the NEA calls the US Public Education is a Priority program. This even though the NEA has made it clear that education is not currently a priority for American students by keeping schools closed.

Raises are demanded as well, so that educator salaries are "commensurate with competing fields" by federal requirement.

More digital learning

The NEA states that the pandemic has exposed the inequities in students' ability to access digital learning, so they want the fed to pour money into that as well, so that more kids can be subject to the non-education of remote learning.

In higher education, they want to "require students to be exposed to both in-person and technological education modules."

Activism in education

The NEA demands "developmentally appropriate LGBTQ equity education programs" and wants to "ensure the protection of transgender students." This would be federal mandates to teach curriculum that is highly controversial and up for debate.

This kind of thing has been adopted in California, and it's resulted in students as young as five learning that they can choose their own sex and gender. Many kids already receive this education, and it is full of lies.

Things that have nothing to do with education:

As part of what they'd like the Biden Harris team to do for public education is to implement a nationwide mask mandate. They want a "universal and well-funded testing and contact tracing system."

Federal funding, the NEA states, must be only given on the condition that states meet certain standards to "advance equity."

The teachers' union demands a single-payer, nationalized, health care system with universal coverage and "the lowest possible cost."

Increase legal paths to American citizenship for immigrants and implement far reaching immigration reform.

Pack courts at all levels of federal and circuit courts by increasing the number of judges in the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits.

Use affirmative action when choosing judges, and prioritize leftist judges who have worked with labor unions, workers rights, consumer rights, immigrants, and civil rights cases.

Enacting federal gun control legislation.

Support the Equal Right Amendment even though the time limit to ratify it has long since expired.

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