Cover Story

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD

"SEEN BUT NOT HEARD" Continued...

Issue: "Public-school reform," July 26, 2003

But while going "religious accommodation" allows a teacher to remain within a unionized school, it virtually forfeits their having any say in local, state, or national policy. For now, the opportunity to air their ideas, plus the fundamental fact that the NEA's national representative assembly is a democratic body, keeps some in service as NEA delegates.

Susan Halverson, a Minnesota delegate, initially sought delegate status after hearing Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church pastor D. James Kennedy urge NEA union members to get involved at the national level: "The problem is Christians aren't getting involved. They are not a voice. I have every right to speak that anyone else does. You've got to love them [delegates], you've got to speak the truth, and then let the Lord work."

So for now, David O'Neal plans to attend next year's NEA national representative assembly in Washington, where NEA activists will stage a massive march for education. Mr. O'Neal will be retired by then, so to remain an NEA delegate, he will work part-time hours at his school. "If we are passionate about something, it is worth defending."

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