Apparently, during this year's NEA convention, a rousing and compelling retirement speech was given by the NEA's General Counsel Bob Chanin. It was heartwarming, charming, and I have to admit, even funny.
The atmosphere could have been compared to an old warrior who was bestowing the quest of defending the honor of the king to the young army, or perhaps the war-torn Lt. Colonel was addressing the troops at the graduation ceremony at West Point.
However, the ambiance was completely shattered for me after hearing this statement:
"We are not paranoid, someone really is after us. Why are these conservative and right-wing bastards picking on the NEA and its affiliates? I will tell you why...it is the price we pay for success."
Bastards? Wait a minute....
So, if I'm conservative or a right-winger, I'm a bastard? Not only that, but we're actually picking on you? By the way, what is your definition of "success" anyway?
Apparently, the teachers of our children if they consider engaging in this mandate need to be set straight on what they are supposed to be doing in class (which is ironic since the teachers are supposed to be setting the students throwing spitballs straight, aren't they???)
So, what should they be doing? That would be, well, teaching.
Shall we define "teaching" first by what it isn't?
It is not teaching morality, that's the parent's job.
It is not teaching ethics, that's also the parent's job.
So what is it then?
Facts, theory, data, numbers, dates, times...in a loving manner. That's it...nothing more, nothing less.
Facts are facts. Gravity exists and it will pull you back down if you jump up. Data and numbers go together. 2 + 2 =4, and the Pythagorean Theorem still persists.
Scientific theory should be discussed...ALL THEORIES...for the kids to decide on or, God forbid, go on to prove or disprove themselves when they become scientists themselves.
As for dates and times? The U.S. was pulled into WWII after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. There are the reasons stated in history why we went to war back then, and that should be discussed in class, however...
...and this is big...
...the teacher's job is not to state his or her opinion as to why or why not we should have gone to war to begin with, regardless if the war is World War II or Iraq.
It is also not the teacher's job to state his or her opinion as to why they agree or disagree with current politics, religion, gay marriage, the right to die, the Great Pumpkin, the Loch Ness Monster, or any other major discussion.
The job description is to present facts, theories, data, numbers, dates, and times, and to let the parents take care of the morals and ethics...period. Their job is not to teach or to legislate thought...their job is to foster the imagination by teaching the facts and settiing their creativity free in harmony and unity with the parents.
However, let it be known that I am also calling for a "Parent's Mandate." This isn't just about the teachers.
Get involved. Have the discussions. Talk to your kids. Schools are not babysitters, and your kids are the future.
The NEA needs to back off from being the social police of your children, and parents need to get back to doing what they are supposed to be doing...raising their kids.
It does not matter if you are Liberal or Conservative, Republican or Democrat, Left or Right. The bottom line is that ethics and morals are supposed to be taught by YOU, NOT BY THEM.
Take this as fair warning: If you let the government teach your children morality, then you will get what you ask for, whether you like the end result or not.
Study your history, and remember this, children in Nazi Germany were rewarded by the government for turning in their parents for teaching against the regime. Conspiracy theory? No, that's history...look it up.
Bottom line: The NEA isn't supposed to raise your children...YOU ARE!!!
As for me, the parent of both a 12 and 14 year old and at the risk of sounding like a "conspiracy theorist," if they want to believe in the Great Pumpkin, well, I'll go ahead and tell them the truth when they're 18...unless the teacher beat me to it.