There was drama at this year’s National Education Association meeting because of the courage and commitment of a relatively small group of Christian and conservative teachers who introduced amendments to overturn the union's liberal policies on several key issues.
The amendments were defeated in secret ballots by the 9,000-strong delegation.
First, teacher Christine Nowak from New York introduced an amendment to the by-laws that would prohibit the NEA from taking any position on the issue of abortion. This would include lobbying, filing amicus curiae briefs in support of pro-abortion court cases, and would mean revision of the NEA Resolution I-16 (Family Planning) to clarify that NEA's support for family planning does not include support for abortion.
The reason for the “no position” is the sentiment of many teachers that involvement in these issues is simply not appropriate use of teacher union dues. And many of the taxpayers who fund local teachers’ salaries agree.
The amendment vote by secret ballot was defeated with 30 percent in favor, 70 percent against. A similar measure at the 2009 meeting was also defeated.
Another amendment called for a similar stance by the NEA on the issue of homosexuality. This amendment, introduced by Ohio teacher Ruth Boyatt, would require that the NEA take no position on the issue of same-gender marriage. It too failed by a vote of 30 percent to 70 percent.
The influence of homosexual and “transgender” teachers was quite visible. Not only was there a booth by the NEA’s “GLBT” Caucus, but one sign announced a “Drag Queen” Caucus. A transvestite beauty contest is rumored to be on the schedule for next year’s meeting.
The Ohio delegation includes many homosexual activists, according to reports from a teacher who attended the Ohio caucus meeting. One teacher rose at the meeting to praise the high number of Ohio teacher delegates who attended an event sponsored by the NEA's "GLBT" Caucus. Plans are in the works for a separate Ohio “GLBT” caucus as well.
The state affiliate, the Ohio Education Association, threw its support in 2009 behind House Bill 176, a measure to add homosexuality and cross-gender behavior to Ohio’s civil rights laws, a so-called “non-discrimination” measure. The bill, which passed the Ohio House but has not been considered by the Ohio Senate, would apply to employment practices in schools. The OEA also opposed the statewide ballot measure affirming traditional marriage in 2004. The constitutional amendment was approved by Ohio voters.