April 29, 2002
What would Jefferson do?
Thomas Jefferson once said that a revolution every 20 years could be a good thing: Sweep away all the old forms and institutions which have mutated to serve only themselves instead of the people and purposes for which they were originally intended. Although a bit radical, this statement comes to mind in the case of the National Education Association and its Washington affiliate, the Washington Education Association.
The WEA's original purpose was obvious: education. But this month, we have seen the WEA spending its time and energy on a snide and childish smear campaign against the Evergreen Freedom Foundation for having the audacity to point out that the NEA was breaking campaign finance laws. The NEA was doing this by spending money collected from non-members on political ads. Non-members, you ask? Yes, they're also required to pay dues or find another profession ... it's part of that blunted purpose mentioned above.
This is but a new twist on an old theme.ĘThe WEA has a distinguished history in recent years of getting caught violating campaign finance laws, found guilty, fined, denying wrongdoing, criticizing Evergreen, and doing it again. Meanwhile, they pursue an agenda that often has little to do with education and entrenches their power at the cost of competition and freedom of school choice, two things that would re-sharpen that blunted purpose.
Ultimately, it's about reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic, not political power games or mudslinging. Should we continue to force teachers to support the NEA / WEA monopoly? What would Jefferson do?
Troy Beardslee, Woodinville