Virtual Voices

The NEA and healthcare reform

Education

Our nation's teachers were unwittingly in the thick of last week's dramatic healthcare summit hosted by President Obama. Whether they liked it or not, their union dues supported a public relations campaign in favor of big government healthcare.

Politically savvy and seizing a timely opportunity, the National Education Association (NEA) produced radio and print ads, a video by its president, and an opinion editorial by its chief healthcare lobbyist, all designed to move public opinion in favor of the unpopular reform initiative in advance of the summit. But why?

Writing at the Huffington Post, NEA director of Collective Bargaining & Member Advocacy Bill Raabe said, "… health care coverage, at heart, is an education issue," which is the NEA's official position on the matter.

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But is healthcare truly an education issue? The NEA says that it wants students to be healthy and, therefore, the reform of our healthcare system comes under the education umbrella. Following that line of reasoning, any issue that affects children could be defined as an education issue.

An organization that began in 1857 to "elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching, and to promote the cause of education in the United States," the NEA has morphed into a powerful political force taking leftward positions on a variety of issues, including family planning and "reproductive freedom." This is the NEA's official position on that topic (see page 84 of the 2009-2010 NEA Resolutions):

The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom.

The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities.

The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.

As I've written before, America is adrift because her citizens lack knowledge about the most basic constitutional principles. The NEA is a party to this problem. Just last week, we saw the NEA urging Congress to go beyond its enumerated constitutional powers to advocate for national healthcare.

We've got an education crisis in this country. Quality education is an education issue. The NEA should keep its eye on the ball.

Lee Wishing
Lee Wishing

Lee is the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

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