Three Republican senators are challenging National Education Association (NEA) President Rebecca Pringle to explain why her union is mounting a nationwide effort such as the one that sparked a parents’ revolt against critical race theory (CRT) in Loudoun County, Virginia.
“We write regarding New Business Item 2 and New Business Item 39, which were considered and adopted during the National Education Association’ s (NEA) 2021 Representative Assembly,” the senators wrote in a letter to Pringle made public on July 20.
“We are deeply concerned that the NEA, the nation’s largest labor union representing over three million school faculty, is proposing to ‘fight back against anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) rhetoric’ by collecting and publicizing information about opponents of CRT.”
The three signers include Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
In addition to asking Pringle what the NEA plans to do with the information collected, the senators also asked the union chief if her organization is conducting CRT-related research on children in public schools and, if so, for what purpose.
They also queried Pringle on why references to the two new business items regarding the information collection were removed from the NEA website.
“The United States has come a long way in its effort to promote equality, and CRT is both divisive and detrimental to the progress our nation has made. Simply put, CRT reinforces divisions on strict racial lines,” the senatorial trio wrote.
“A recent YouGov poll revealed that 58 percent of Americans have an ‘unfavorable’ view of CRT. Concerned parents across the country have shared accounts of confused and upset children that are being taught to hate themselves as a consequence of CRT.
“Furthermore, while we appreciate the importance of age-appropriate accountings of unpleasant aspects of American history, the teachings promoted by CRT, such as the ‘1619 project,’ contain historically inaccurate information in an effort to divide Americans.
“The central tenet of CRT, which encourages individuals to think of themselves as ‘oppressors’ or ‘victims’ is counterproductive to creating an effective learning environment.”
The two new business items that disappeared from the NEA website following the organization’s National Assembly, which was attended remotely by more than 8,000 union members, officials, government officials, and other guests from June 30 to July 3, were preserved on Twitter.
“NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked,” new business item No. 2 stated, according to a Twitter post by Washington Free Beacon journalist Matthew Foldi.
“The attacks on anti-racist teachers are increasing, coordinated by well-funded organizations such as the Heritage Foundation. We need to be better prepared to respond to these attacks so that our members can continue this important work.”
The NEA gathering approved spending $56,600 on the program.
President Joe Biden addressed the NEA National Assembly, telling the attendees that “the NEA is one of the nation’s indispensable organizations.”
Donors who identified themselves as working in education, including NEA members, gave Biden more than $22 million in campaign contributions during his 2020 presidential campaign against his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who received less than $3 million from such contributors, according to opensecrets.org.
Earlier this year, Loudoun County in Northern Virginia saw parents speak out when students at a local elementary school were required by teachers to participate in a “runaway slave game” in gym class.
Many parents in the county, which has the highest median household income in the nation according to Forbes, were outraged when they heard about the game from their children, many of whom were emotionally upset by the activity.
The county thus became “ground zero” for what has since become a nationwide campaign among parents, elected officials, and many educators against CRT, which holds that the United States was founded by whites to defend slavery and that all white individuals are thus inherently racists benefitting from legal, economic, political, and social institutions designed to perpetuate “white privilege.”
The initial controversy over the gym class game became far more intense when it was learned that a large group of CRT advocates had organized a Facebook group that collected information and data on CRT opponents within the county.
Members of a 624-member private Facebook group called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County,” including school staff and school board members, reportedly compiled a long enemies list of parents thought to oppose LCPS policies, including CRT teachings. The members said they wanted to “infiltrate,” use “hackers” to silence parents’ communications, and “expose these people publicly.”
The NEA’s media relations office didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mtapscott and on Parler at @Mtapscott.
Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.