National Teachers’ Union Formalizes Belief That Educators Must Acknowledge Existence of White Supremacy Culture

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The National Education Association added a new section to its Resolutions, titled “White Supremacy Culture,” in which it states the belief that educators must acknowledge the existence of White supremacy culture as a primary root cause of institutional racism, structural racism, and White privilege.

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional employee organization – union – in the country, with a reported 3 million members at every level of education including pre-school to university graduate programs. The NEA has affiliates in every state, with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) being listed as the Tennessee state affiliate.

The TEA, as reported by The Tennessee Star, was very active in 2018 state elections, spending more than $500,000 during the election cycle.

The “White Supremacy Culture” resolution was included in the 2017-2018 report of the NEA Resolutions Committee, which was presented to the NEA Representative Assembly held July 2 through 5, 2018, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where a reported 6,200 delegates attended.

According to NEA, the Representative Assembly is the highest decision-making body within the 3-million member body with over 8,000 delates, making it “the world’s largest democratic deliberative body.”

The NEA holds a 10-day long annual meeting and representative assembly each year around the Independence Day holiday. There are days of meetings prior to the annual meeting, but the centerpiece of the annual event is the gathering of the Representative Assembly.

The Representative Assembly is comprised of 8,000 delegates, allocated at a ratio of 1:1,000 active members of state affiliates and a ratio of 1:150 active members of local affiliates, according to the NEA’s Constitution. The delegates are then elected to the Representative Assembly by secret ballot of members within each membership group.

Prior to the meeting of the Representative Assembly, the Resolutions Committee, one of 23 NEA committees, prepares the proposed resolutions for presentation the Representative Assembly for adoption.

The Resolutions Committee is comprised of a five-member Internal Editing Committee appointed by the NEA president.

The Resolutions Committee also includes members and alternates from each state that number the same as the directors of each state and as many retired and student members as retired and student directors, all of whom are elected.

At-large representatives of the Resolutions Committee, appointed by the president, include ethnic minorities, administrators, classroom teachers in higher education and active members employed in education support professional positions.

The most recent report of the NEA Resolutions Committee was presented to the Representative Assembly during the summer of 2018. The report tracks the evolution of the resolutions, indicating when a resolution was (originally included), deleted, changed or added as new.

Deleted language is enclosed with bold brackets, while new copy is indicated by the language appearing in bold italics. At the end of each resolution, the year in which the resolution was first adopted and last amended appears in parenthesis. These practices make the identification of additions and edits clear to the reader.

The NEA Resolution Committee Report to the Representative Assembly of July 2 through 5, 2018, a 15- page document, included around three-dozen language changes, some more substantive than others, as well as four sections marked as “new.”

One new resolution titled “Board of Trustees,” essentially separated out a pre-existing portion of another resolution.

A second resolution indicated as new is titled “Cultural Diversity in Instructional Materials,” which combined newly-deleted sections titled “Cultural Diversity in Instructional Materials and Activities” added in 1969 and last amended in 1995; “Women in Instructional Materials” added in 1996 and last amended in 1998; and “Religious Heritage in Instructional Materials” added in 1988.

An entirely new resolution titled “Private Prisons” states, “The National Education Association believes that profiting from incarceration is in direct conflict with the objective to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes. Additionally, private prison practices such as maintaining high occupancy rates and unsafe staff-to-inmate ratios, lobbying for harsh sentences, and providing inadequate services undermine restorative justice practices and disproportionately affect people of color. Therefore, the Association believes that incarcerated individuals should be held in publicly operated institutions.”

Another entirely new resolution carries the heading “White Supremacy Culture.”

The section reads, in its entirety:

The National Education Association believes that, in order to achieve racial and social justice, educators must acknowledge the existence of White supremacy culture as a primary root cause of institutional racism, structural racism, and White privilege. Additionally, the Association believes that the norms, standards, and organizational structures manifested in White supremacy culture perpetually exploit and oppress people of color and serve as detriments to racial justice. Further, the invisible racial benefits of White privilege, which are automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, and other factors, severely limit opportunities for people of color and impede full achievement of racial and social justice. Therefore, the Association will actively advocate for social and educational strategies fostering the eradication of institutional racism and White privilege perpetuated by White supremacy culture. (2018)

The Representative Assembly adopted all NEA Resolutions contained within the 2017-18 Final Report of the NEA Resolutions Committee at its July 2018 meeting.

As The Star has extensively reported, the Williamson County School district has over the past year introduced a series of Cultural Competency videos. Module 3 of that video series focused on white privilege.

In the 26-minute video, the narrator told viewers, “white individuals do enjoy unearned advantages that society does not necessarily offer to individuals of color.” The usage of the word “unearned” in the video seems to mirror the NEAs resolution language that white privilege is “automatically conferred.”

During a regularly-scheduled Williamson County School Board meeting held March 25, 2019, School Superintendent Mike Looney told the Board members and attendees in the filled-to-capacity room, “I take full responsibility for the development of the Cultural Competency Series videos,” as The Star reported.

Later that week, a meeting was scheduled with the purpose of members of the community, including parents, citizens and elected officials having the opportunity to discuss the Cultural Competency Series professional development videos with Superintendent Looney.

At that meeting, Looney reportedly defended the Cultural Competency efforts because the school system had to report 19 race, color and national original discrimination complaints last year and that the numbers continue to increase.

It is unclear what, if any, influence the NEA’s resolution “White Supremacy Culture” has had on the Williamson County Schools Cultural Competency efforts.

The 2019 NEA annual meeting is scheduled for June 27 through July 6, 2019, in Houston, Texas. The tentative meeting and event schedule can be found here.

Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.
Photo “National Educational Asociation Building” by AgnosticsPreachersKid. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Thoughts to “National Teachers’ Union Formalizes Belief That Educators Must Acknowledge Existence of White Supremacy Culture”

  1. L.P. Barnett

    Grew up as a white boy on the plains of Eastern Colorado. My stepdad ran a county maintainer for $285.00 per month, supporting a wife and 5 boys. This was in the 1960s.
    We raised pigs, chickens, and cattle, although I was in the U.S Marine Corps before I ever knew what a beefsteak was like. You see, even though we raised cattle, we never butchered one; they were too valuable. We simply couldn’t afford to butcher them. I ate deer, antelope, elk, and all manner of rabbits, ducks, pheasants,etc. including some game I wasn’t really sure about. My mother made 18 loaves of homemade bread weekly, along with various sweets when she could scrape together the ingredients.
    I had to wash dishes on an assigned weekly basis; all us boys did. Every morning we would take care of chores (especially animals) in all manner of weather before grabbing something to eat as we got ready to catch the schoolbus. Many times I barely had time to crack a raw egg and swallow it whole just to have some protein in the morning.
    My mother sewed patches on our jeans so we could wear them longer. We were always clean; soap and water are cheap, but our clothes consisted largely of hand-me-downs. Oh, and us younger boys got one pair of shoes per year, usually brogans and we wore them for everything. I could go on and on
    I say all this to give you all a glimpse of “White Privilege “ in the 60s in the western part of our country.
    The good ol’ days are right now, folks. We just need to be smart enough to realize it!

  2. Sail Away

    This white bashing has been going on in the schools through textbooks and curriculum for quite some time, only now, they’re admitting it out loud and in our faces. The people who have made it possible throughout history for others to be free, for others to be healed, for others to have a better life in every single way are being maligned, bashed, and hated. Is it rabid jealousy? If they get rid of the white race, what then . . . ?

  3. Horatio Bunce

    My favorite NEA resolution for a long time now has been good old B-82, which reads in part:

    “Home Schooling
    The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”

    It really says a lot about how they view you dumb parents. No choice by you should be allowed – only what they find acceptable to force upon you. I find the NEA continually proves themselves correct on this one. I just can’t keep up with the stupid Jones’ in the NEA. Just no way to provide their “comprehensive experience” on your own. You will be too busy teaching your children to read, write and calculate to have time for Cesar Chavez, gender/bathroom confusion, Pearson monopoly texts/testing, arguing over the pledge of allegiance, teaching racist privilege theory, etc.

    Maybe the NEA should try running their operation without white people’s taxes. Home schoolers do it all the time.

  4. TheResister

    All the more reason we should get our kids out of government schools. With every graduation comes another class of students trained in Marxism. It’s no longer about education, but indoctrination.
    Home school your children. Teach them the Bible. Thomas Jefferson said a “thorough knowledge of the Bible is more important than a college education.” Teach them the Constitution so they’ll know their God-given Rights.
    We must put an end to this war upon whites and upon the founding principles of this nation. The first place to start is with your own family. Get your kids out of their schools!

  5. M. Flatt

    Fact: In the 2010 Census, 72.4% of Americans self-identified as “White – Non-Hispanic”.
    I do not understand the notion of why we, the majority, need to feel ashamed of being “normal”. It is not like we are actively trying to put up barriers. In fact, many of the barriers that WERE in place have be bashed down by laws and policies. Yes, there are individuals who may have problems with minorities, but the majority of the majority don’t have such issues.
    The mathematics seems pretty simple to me. There are more of us in the majority than there are of you in the minority. Why should WE change? It would take less effort and resources for the minority to join in with the majority culture, than for the majority culture to change to accommodate minorities. It is quite obvious that the majority enjoys benefits that are not offered in the minority culture, so it makes more sense to let go of that old minority culture and join in the greater society. You see, there is such a thing as a “Black Middle Class”. There are folks with darker skin that enjoy a higher standard of living, simply because they chose to be Americans, as opposed to African-Americans.
    Achievement and Good Self-Image are not zero-sum games. You don’t have to destroy some one else to be able to better yourself. Everyone has the equal opportunity, but not everyone will have equal outcome. It comes down to the individual decision to make one’s life better.

  6. Old Hickory

    The NEA is recommending the end of public education. In our county, students are leaving to be home schooled or private schooled.

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