Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sorry, NEA. Saying it Doesn't Make it So

Faced with growing problems in the public school system (falling test scores, over-crowded classrooms, etc.,) NEA officials continue to gloss over the issues and encourage parents and teachers to "suck it up and deal."  Rather than admitting and working to solve the problems that no one argues actually exist, the NEA just keeps chanting a mantra that goes something like this:
"As bad as the schools are, they're still better than homeschooling."
A recent mydesert.com post, As Class Sizes Rise, So Does Homeschooling, provides a mixed bag of opinions concerning public schools and homeschooling.  The article addresses the problems facing public schools, namely growing class sizes, and suggests that a growing number of parents are choosing to homeschool in order to escape the problems that school officials seem unable to solve.  While generally speaking, the post manages to provide a mostly positive view of homeschooling and homeschoolers, the NEA senior policy analyst that was interviewed for the article makes a typical "head-in-the-sand" statement that reveals the disconnect that exists between public school officials and public school parents' growing dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“The NEA believes home- schooling lacks regular interaction with caring, trained professional educators, which we believe greatly aids a child's social, emotional and intellectual development,” said Bob Tate, a senior policy analyst with the NEA. “(Home-schooling) provides no assurance of regular face-to-face interaction with peers in the structured setting of a school, which we believe is an important part of a child's development that cannot be fully realized through online or informal neighborhood interactions,” he added.
The assertions of public school officials that interaction with "trained professionals" is more important for a child's social, emotional, and intellectual development than interaction with his own parents is downright insulting.  And their continual insistence on the necessity of school-based socialization is laughable.  Their constant harping on these two factors in light of growing evidence to the contrary (see studies in linked article,) proves both their unwillingness to address the real issues that face their schools and a complete lack of concern for the needs of the students and families they are paid to serve.

There is an adage that expresses the belief that "blowing out someone else's candle won't make your candle burn brighter."  The NEA and many local unions and school administrators have long relied on the practice of attempting to blow out the shining candle of homeschooling in an attempt to brighten the glow of their own fading light.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work.  Parents aren't being fooled and increasingly, they are giving up on the schools.  They can see beyond the illusion.  As a growing chasm develops between the success of schools and the success of their homeschool counterparts, parents are waking up to the reality that the mantra doesn't ring true...simply chanting it doesn't make it so. 

Parents are beginning to demand solutions from our nation's school administrators and from the unions that control the money.  And until the self-proclaimed experts of "the system" stop ranting about the supposed short-comings of the competition and begin to own up to their own significant problems AND offer real solutions, the defection will continue.


  1. The NEA: Putting lipstick on a pig since 1857

  2. Wonderfully put!! It's very telling that the NEA never has ANY proof to back up their opinion of homeschooling.

  3. I totally agree! Those professionals aren't as professionally acting as the ones 35 years ago!

  4. I couldn't help but feel a bit vindicated when Mark was telling me this morning that his new boss is furious with the school district because his twin teenage girls entered high school this year and have started behaving horribly. This is the same school district that Mark was adamant about staying in because it is rated the best in the state. He was surprised that his immigrant boss was concerned about it, and especially that he claimed there is rampant drug abuse in the high school. Yes, there is. And this is supposed to be a very nice area. That's a large part of the problem, I think; all these spoiled kids in their empty McMansions whose medicine cabinits are loaded with Mommy's and Daddy's and Grandma's prescriptions. A lot of parents around here work in pharmaceuticals, and few mothers stay home. So the kids have unlimited access to most kinds of pills, and parents who live in denial. Ugh.

  5. LOVE this post today.... I have come so far from when I used to be in the public schools as a teacher and administrator. Now that I homeschool I have a completely different view of the situation. Public schools are simply government, and we see how well that's working out.

  6. Linda:

    Was wondering what you were up to when I saw your icon at the Hip Homeschool Hop. Causing trouble again no doubt! :)

    I keep saying that as long as teachers are represented by the NEA they lose all credibility with me. Granted, my daughter has a close friend who is a grade school art teacher but when she starts having kids she is going to home-school! She wasn't home-schooled herself but between knowing my daughter (a grown woman now) and seeing what goes on in the schools...she had no trouble deciding to home-school!

    I went back recently to read the comments on the op-ed that I did for the New York Times (yes, I was ASKED by the NYT to submit an op-ed!) After re-reading the comments I realized that there are some people out there who truly hate home-schoolers! Not just disagree with, some of the comments just reeked with hate. Fortunately, some home-schoolers got on there and debunked the popular myths.

    As far as the NEA is concerned, why let facts get in the way of propaganda?!

  7. What kind of "assurance" do we have about anything? There are horrid homeschool families as well as properly certified teachers who happen to be wacko child molesters. Most people send their children to public school - it's "free" childcare for working families, let's face it - so what's their beef with people who lead "alternative lifestyles?" I thought they were all into that.

  8. Amen! I just found your blog when a friend linked this post, and I already love it! As a former classroom teacher (for nine years) who was forced by union rules to give too much of my hard-earned money to the NEA (and its state and local affiliates), I can attest to the fact that you're right...and that the unionistas do everything they can to convince the rank-and-file membership to do anything they can to demonize the competition (private schools, charter schools, home schools, etc.). They'd do much better to focus on improving their own "product" (if, indeed, that's really possible with an inherently broken system) than bothering others with their downright ignorant, totally unfounded critiques. As someone said, above, they can't come up with evidence of their criticisms of home education; thus, they lack any credibility.

  9. I have a friend from a long line of teachers, who was leery of our homeschooling, until the public schools DESPERATELY failed her aspbergers son. I couldn't believe what the local SD put that family through.

    She is now pro alternative education...

  10. That just makes me ill to read the NEA's opinion. Seriously? At least the quote is so absurd that I can rest assured that he is wrong and most people can see that.