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The Education Issue

Trenchcoat Mafia

In Sacramento recently they threatened to destroy anyone who opposed them, even an eight-year-old boy (a lawsuit is pending).

Video self-portraits of the Columbine killers. Unlike the NEA, the trenchcoat mafia ended only 15 students' lives. Photos from AP

You romanticize your heroes, quote from Marx and Mao /Well their ideas of freedom are just oppression now.

- Crass

In Sacramento recently they threatened to destroy anyone who opposed them, even an eight-year-old boy (a lawsuit is pending). In Indiana they hired a tire slasher to become one of their members and he immediately got to work destroying any car owner that stood in the way. In Michigan they killed a pet cat to show the owner what happens to blabbermouths. They have goldplated champagne coolers, lavish holidays all over the globe, and more politicians in check than any group in the Western world (not even the Republicans and the Democrats have as many lobbyists on Capitol Hill). They only very recently started paying taxes, and the little tax they do pay is a minuscule fraction of their annual income. They are above the law, make over a billion dollars a year, and control the hearts and minds of every newspaper in the country. They are the mafia. A group of chubby gluttons who squeeze the working man dry and then use that money to beat him further into submission. This is not the mafia featured on HBO. They're not even Italian. This mafia is actually a labor union known as the National Education Association (NEA). A gigantic, hydra-headed extortion machine that charges every teacher in America hundreds of dollars to "represent" them but is really only concerned with getting more money and crushing more opponents. Remember in that New York series on PBS where we learned that it was Robert Moses who created all the highways and bridges that turned New York City into a giant traffic machine? He'd get a few million from mayor La Guardia, build a bridge, set up a toll, take all the money and build another highway with another profitable toll. The more he built the more traffic we'd get. He was above the law and had no checks and balances, so he just kept growing and growing and siphoning off more and more money. Nobody could stop him. Throw in some violence, threats and about 400 times the government pay-offs and you have the NEA, the largest threat to education since stupidity. This horrific crime gang started back in the 1960s, when Kennedy was so desperate for votes he allowed teachers (government workers) to unionize. What? The government regulates teachers' pay and benefits and then the union regulates teachers' pay and benefits? How much regulating did these people need? Once you factor in that every teacher in the country is forced to join the NEA, you essentially have a monopoly on top of a monopoly on top of a monopoly. It's the biggest scam in the Western world outside of Halliburton but, unlike Halliburton, nobody knows it exists. The NEA has three million members, but only 2% of the teachers who pay their $500 a year have any idea where their money goes or to whom. The bastards pull this off in a number of clandestine ways. Here's their unwritten guide: 1. HIDE YOUR IDENTITY
The NEA has a different name in every state. That makes it look like they are not one terrorist group (as the U.S. Secretary of Education called them) but a series of different cells. How could the Connecticut Teachers Association have anything to do with the California Education Association? Check the bank account. Everyone's dues end up in the same place. 2. KEEP MEMBERS IN THE DARK
Teachers are usually female and, for whatever reason, female teachers tend to be more concerned with teaching than with staying up late to go to community centers and argue about politics. Even within the NEA, you have hordes and hordes of female plebes with only a few rich white males at the top. Political bullshit is the white man's specialty and tricking a nation of naïve Florence Nightingales into emptying their pockets is like raping grandmas in a barrel. 3. SPREAD PROPAGANDA
The NEA spends millions brainwashing journalists into thinking: NEA (labor union) = empowered teachers = public education = smart kids = democracy. The truth is really: NEA (corrupt institution) = bored teachers = no education = stupid kids = communism. When most Americans are asked what they think about the state of the teachers' union, they have negative things to say. Eighty-five percent of them think teachers are doing a good job, but much less than half of that think the same of the unions. So what's a mafia to do? Spend, spend, spend. Last year the NEA budgeted half a million dollars to "monitor and analyze forces undermining public education" (destroy NEA critics). They then spent another half a million to "maintain a clearinghouse of information on individuals working to dismantle public education" (destroy NEA critics). Add another $800,000 to "develop and provide training to leaders on threats to public education" (destroy NEA critics), and you have an unstoppable propaganda machine. There are a few teachers out there who dare to put up a fight. In 1998, California teachers voted for something called Paycheck Protection. This measure would prevent the NEA from spending money on political campaigns without teachers' permission. The NEA then instituted a half-a-million dollar (fuck, they love that figure) "internal campaign." That is, they spent members' dues to convince members that the NEA should be able to freely spend members' dues. They milk the taxpayer dry, and when he says, "Fuck that," they charge him more to prove him wrong. And it works. The NEA has no real critics. Here are some examples of what the media has to say about them (try not to puke): "In her private life, [Utah Education Association president Phyllis Sorenson] is a doting grandmother, a master quilter and an antique-shop hound who hunts thrift stores for castoff stuffed animals that can be lovingly refurbished and donated to charity." "[Union president] Sandy Feldman's real passion is children. Especially poor children. Although Feldman herself has no children, she seems to consider the one million-plus students here her family. "Yup, Feldman has dyed her hair blonde. Brash, blunt, Brooklyn-Jewish Sandy Feldman, whose saucy voice and straightforward manner—perhaps whose very soul—practically ooze brunette, has gone blonde." 4. BRIBE POLITICIANS
The NEA spends 500 million dollars a year on political campaigns, no matter what the teachers' political beliefs are. On top of the financial donations, they coerce volunteers from the schools, ensuring whichever politicians are in the White House, they will be on the side of the unions. 5. BE COCKSUCKERS
The NEA is no different from any other corrupt labor union. If someone refuses to join or continues to be a pain in the ass, they have to be removed by any means necessary. When a high school teacher named Tom Tancredo dared to criticize the NEA, the Clinton administration was forced into removing him from his job. At first Clinton's men showed reluctance because of Tancredo's excellent teaching record, but the NEA pointed to the millions of dollars the Democrats had received, and that was the end of Tom. When San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Sanders pointed out the union's overwhelming political power, citing $90,000 teacher salaries and seemingly endless benefits, the NEA saw red. They published a newsletter with Sanders' address and home telephone number, encouraging members to make her life hell. They did. So, after discovering these five mafia tactics, the public will take up arms and erase the NEA from the earth, right? No. The NEA is a tapeworm that has embedded itself so deeply into teachers' stomachs that only a glass of warm milk and a pencil could get them out. NEA cronies will tell you we're exaggerating and the NEA has done a lot of good. They have two points they always cling to when defending themselves. "One, we've reduced the number of students per class by hiring more teachers" they'll say smugly, "and two, we've provided teachers with great benefits, especially insurance." THE TEACHER-STUDENT RATIO DEFENSE
Well, at first glance it seems the teacher-student ratio has sort of improved since the NEA's inception. But then you talk to a teacher. Why is it they still have to deal with 40 screaming maniacs per class? Because that's how charity works in corrupt climates. Live Aid was great for raising money for Africa but none of it made it to the starving children. The African warlords spent it on elaborate outfits and Central Park apartments. This is exactly what's happened with the extra teachers in America. For every 10 teachers the government hires only one or two of them will actually make it to a classroom. The rest will be sucked into the NEA to raise more money and get more teachers. Like the 1950s horror movie The Blob, the more teachers the government gives them, the hungrier they become for more teachers. The worst part of this system is, it's the smart teachers that end up avoiding the classroom and joining the NEA. The pay is better and the hours are fewer (yes, it is possible a job could have even fewer hours than a public school teacher). The insurance defense is equally flimsy. THE INSURANCE DEFENSE
The NEA's endless thirst for frills has resulted in a teaching work force that is drunk with benefits. The insurance and security the NEA provides is addictive. (The insurance element of the NEA is so huge, in fact, it's become an industry in and of itself. Most top-brass retirees from the NEA end up working as consultants for insurance companies—a payback for special treatment during their NEA days.) Just like a 34-year-old who won't move out of his doting mother's house, most teachers (especially the older ones) are reluctant to get out there and face the real world. And it's exactly this kind of overfed interdependence that is killing the quality of education. So the ratio defense is bullshit, and the insurance thing is a cop-out. The point is, all the NEA mafia cares about is their commission (in mob terms it's called the vig). Three-quarters of government spending is on education. That's a lot of vig. If that means sedating teachers into a point of total and utter uselessness, then so be it. The blob has to feed itself. California teacher Diann Myer summed up the problem perfectly in U.S. News & World Report: "Rigorous, academically oriented teachers who want to maintain high standards in the classroom are thwarted at every turn: by administrators who want happy parents, parents who want happy children, students who want happy lives, and even other teachers who want happy, tension-free classrooms. Teachers are judged by how comfortable their students feel, not by the competence they require of their students by demanding hard work and maximum effort." Being a teacher has become a cushy job, but what has it done to the students? Today the average high-school student has an IQ barely above retard level. Check the beginning of this magazine. They think man first landed on the moon in the 1800s, for fuckssakes. Marks have been plummeting drastically in recent years, and they reached international crisis levels in the late 90s. Your average public-school classroom has become a zoo where students jump on chairs and force teachers to do nothing but rent movies and beg them to sit down. But students wouldn't behave like this if the teachers were challenged. Teachers' efforts are not rewarded. Failure isn't punished. The NEA has left them bored shitless, and they have allowed their students' tiny minds to wander away into nothingness. This all begins the second teachers start teachers' college. In New Jersey the final exam at teacher's college gives 52% of the grade to teachers who can "Draw all the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lower case." This is especially hard on the teachers that are blind and have Down's. At New York's City College, teachers in training don't waste their time learning the importance of mathematics and history. Instead the curriculum focuses on what the union deems important. Subjects like "Leadership in Changing Times" can teach teachers the importance of things like, say, unions. After focusing on leftist politics, the teachers have little time for academia. This vacuum is filled with affectionately easy curriculum like a thing these pathetic fucking orangutans refer to as "New Math" or, get this, "Mathland." "The only rules in Mathland," reads the U.S. Department of Education's guidebook, "are the ones students invent for themselves." Are you ready for this? This is what your math teacher learned in teacher's college:
•"Don't worry if the student's graphs are not exactly accurate."
•"Trial-and-error is a valid solution technique, allowing all students to approach the problems at some level."
•"Division in Mathland is not a separate operation to master, but rather a combination of successive approximations, multiplication, adding up, subtracting back, all held together by students' own number sense."
Oh, that's nice. 1+1 = rainbows and rhubarb. Math is what you make it. By the way, it's not just New York that is reinventing numbers. The Indiana State Legislature recently decided to make students' lives easier by rounding up pi to 3.2. This initiative ignores two major problems. One, this is no longer pi, and perhaps more startlingly, if you were to round off pi it would go from 3.141 to simply 3.1. Numbers under 5 get rounded down not up, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!
(Sorry.) To start to analyze the effects the NEA has had on teaching is like going to an abortion clinic on magic mushrooms. The horrors know no bounds. In Oakland, NEA affiliate Bob Mandel insisted the NEA support a resolution in favor of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Upon further investigation, it was discovered Mumia's case had become a course in some high schools. What is this, KRS-One's University of Hip-Hop? We thought that was a joke. The New York Post's Andrea Peyser recently dug up a note a Brooklyn teacher wrote to a parent that described the child as: "very high proactive … Why is he not learning or learning so but so little, with my help … How comes his past teachers have been passing him from grade to grade without he advancing or progressing [sic] academicly. I will like to know what is causing the mental blockage." You are, you stupid bitch. The minds that these sub-moronic teachers shape are great for going off to war and raping people, but what is the future of a country where teachers are so fucking lazy they often don't even show up? John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 recently did a scary feature on public schools in America where he noticed: "At one school, records show a math teacher kept coming in late. One year, he was late or didn't show up at all more than 100 times. He routinely sent students out to buy him food, and his classroom was so littered with candy wrappers and cigarette butts that the janitors refused to clean the room. When the school tried to fire him, the teacher unions gave him a lawyer, and it took nine hearings, three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees before he could finally be let go." That's the scariest part about all this incompetence. It's impossible to fire these people. At any given time in this country there are 50 to 60 teachers, sitting at home, awaiting criminal charges. The school board can't fire them. They can't even cut their pay. They just have to sit and wait as the NEA pays for lawyers to try to free this criminal and get him back into the classroom. Feel free to put the letters WTF? into a time capsule and bury them under your nearest school. THE SOLUTION Peter Brimelow's controversial book The Worm in the Apple: How Teacher Unions Are Destroying Education lays out a crystal clear guide to stopping the NEA and saving education. And you can't do the latter without doing the former. The union has to die so that the teachers can live. Teachers need to hatch, leave the nest, and actually exist in the real world. That means checks and balances. It costs the taxpayer about $8,500 per student to have "free" education. As of now, the unions get all of it. The only way to save education is to put that money back into the hands of the taxpayer. When the NEA is confronted with this option they scream hysterically, "We don't have supermarkets giving food away for free to poor people, so why would we give money to poor people for their childrens' education?" We won't, you asshole. We'll use some kind of voucher. Just as the government gives out food stamps to the poor so they can buy food, it will give out X amount of education vouchers to every parent in the district (regardless of class). The government is not in the business of distributing education in the same way the government is not in the business of food distribution. The government subsidizes the consumption of food and it should subsidize education. From a consumerist point of view, it's the perfect solution. As it stands now, the education system is the only system in America that does not have to answer to any kind of production standards. Money goes in no matter what they produce. It's all demand and no supply. If the parents had vouchers that they could use to spend on the school of their choice, schools would be petrified of having bad reviews. If a school gets a reputation for having low grades and shitty teachers, it won't get the vouchers. If it doesn't get the vouchers, it won't be around. Now, all of a sudden teachers have an incentive to do a good job. Instead of spending their time going on irrelevant field trips, the teacher now has to buckle down and make sure his students are learning something. Everyone wins. Well, everyone but the union and the shitty teachers it protects. The NEA fully realizes how effective a voucher program would be and falls asleep crying about it every night. They realize that any kind of system that encourages performance and a free market will be the death of them, so they're fighting like hell to get it out of the public's consciousness. Though it is illegal to use school funds for partisan activities, unions often have teachers take up their students' time and resources for letter-writing campaigns to oppose vouchers. "Dear Congress, please do not challenge my teacher. I enjoy jumping on my desk and watching her eyes roll into the back of her head. Any kind of regulation would mean she'd have to work and I'd have to learn and that would be terrible" or something like that. One of the more twisted solutions to the voucher threat is to start rumors among the more right-wing parents that the program would lead to bussing and that means (shhhh—whisper this part), "there would be niggers at your school." Though usually only a small percentage of the parents, the community's racist citizens become nervous and these "whisper campaigns" can often sway the vote away from vouchers. The most absurd opposition to the voucher solution came from NEA member D.A. Weber, who recently said to the press, "There are some proposals that are so evil that they should never even be presented to the voters. We do not believe, for example, that we should hold an election empowering the Ku Klux Klan. And we don't think it's undemocratic to oppose voting on legalizing child prostitution." So, now, empowering parents with the right to choose a school is the same as dragging a black man behind a truck and then fucking a baby? Kind of ironic coming from a group that secretly uses fear of blacks to discourage vouchers and doesn't give a shit what it does to children's lives. It's important to note that this is not primarily an American problem. Top-heavy unions are ruining education in Canada and the U.K. too. It's a Western problem. Basically Western education is communist, and communists are lazy. But the education mafia cannot last forever. This latest generation of teachers have begun to question the NEA's silly rhetoric and some have even demanded accountability for NEA actions. Recently the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation took the case of 3,000 teachers who say the NEA's political spending is unlawful and done without their consent. They demand to see where their dues have gone (3,000 teachers = $1.5 million in dues). This is one of many lawsuits going on in America that are threatening to destabilize the NEA's billion-dollar throne. This is happening because younger people don't have the same kind of pie-in-the-sky vision of unions their parents had. It's become obvious the Billy Bragg ideal of a workers' paradise has crumbled into a hideous swarm of pigs gorging at the trough. Years ago it was a joy to create a union and rip money from the hands of the fat cats, but today is a different era. The union had its place, but try to tell a 25-year-old woman that, 50 years ago, it was impossible for female teachers to marry, or in some cases even date, without the school board's permission. She'll tell you that must have been the stone age, and she's right. Those days are over. It's a truth that will really sink in when this generation of boomer teachers retire and the new crop gets its day in court. When that day comes, the dues will stop and, as we learned in biology class, without its host, the parasite will die.