October 12 2008
Brown Shirts, Blue Shirts: Leave our Children Alone
Donna Wiesner Keene
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin recently called for higher teacher pay. Her Democratic rival, Sen. Joe Biden, countered by claiming that the Bush administration's signature education reform, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program, has failed from lack of funding.
Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and Senate set the budget, so senators Obama and Biden are at least in part responsible for any lack of funding for NCLB. Yet Biden sought to shift blame to the Alaska governor.
Calls for more money are not uncommon in education policy by the likes of teacher's union such as the National Education Association (NEA), and in this election cycle they are going all-out for the unlimited government spending that Obama promises.
The New York teacher's union, for example, distributed thousands of Obama campaign buttons and teachers wore them until the outcry from administrators and parents forced them to stop their partisan abuse of their jobs. Unions are also using their members' hard-earned dues money to fund left-leaning voter registration projects.
Closer to home, the Virginia Education Association (VEA) recently did its thing for Obama, as its head, Kitty Boitnott, sent the following email to her members:
"Tuesday, September 30, 2008 everyone is asked to do two things
1) WEAR BLUE -don't wear an NEA for Obama shirt to school, but wear something else blue
2) REGISTER TWO VOTERS OR talk to two people who may be on the fence/ or a McCain supporter and sway them to become a (sic) Obama Supporter)."
Boitnott defended her email by saying these were not campaign shirts.
Hitler youth were trained to spy on their parents and other adults and to become foot soldiers for the Nazi regime. Even today survivors admit that this early training influences them and is hard to ignore. The Sturmabteilung paramilitary were named for their uniforms and called brownshirts, and theirs is not an example America should be following.
American public school teachers are taxpayer-funded. Taxpayers do not deserve to pay for partisan classrooms. Like madras schools that teach Islam but not jihad, not all schools are misguided, but adults should be held accountable when they fail to teach how to think and instead begin teaching what to think.
David Horowitz of Students for Academic Freedom cites reams of ideological statements by college professors, who are also taxpayer-funded. Outrageous, yet at some level college students near adulthood should have learned in publically funded high schools to think for themselves.
Since the 1930s era of mobsters, thuggish industrial unions, and the radical left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky, Chicago has been a stronghold for voter fraud. Obama grew up in Hawaii, Kansas and Indonesia, but writes that he picked Chicago for his career due to the influence of Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed Communist organizer who was an Obama mentor.
As the group's lawyer, Obama defended the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now against multiple indictments of organizers for fraudulent voter registrations and campaign violations. Like Jesse Jackson's organizations, ACORN has been funded in great part with federal tax dollars since the Nixon Administration.
Activists with ACORN have taught hundreds of thousands of Obama supporters this year. These methods work. Since Al Gore made campaign fund-raising calls from his White House office as vice-president without suffering legal consequences, perhaps Virginia parents should not be surprised by the audacity of public school teacher unions here and elsewhere.
Since before the 2004 elections, organizations like the Virginia Voting Integrity Project, formed to combat illegal activities like those of ACORN, had little traction and were discouraged by a Republican Party fearing an accusation of racism.
Something as simple as photographing voters in their second trip through a voter line or taking down the District of Columbia license plate numbers in Arlington voting lots was frowned upon. Left unchecked, fraud in places like Hampton Roads became more aggressive.
The candidates are spending a lot of time in Virginia. Obama has been here at least six times in recent months, while Biden has made four trips. Republican John McCain and Palin held a rally in Fairfax that attracted an estimated 27,000 attendees.
There is no doubt Virginia is a battleground state. Political rhetoric aside, using our public schools and our children to influence the outcome of the election, as the VEA has clearly done, crosses the line of acceptability.
Donna Wiesner Keene, a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women's Forum, served in the Reagan, Bush and Bush U.S. Departments of Education.