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Teachers’ Unions vs. Teachers, Parents, and Children: “Racial Justice” Ideology

Teachers’ Unions vs. Teachers, Parents, and Children (full series)
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“Racial Justice” Ideology | The COVID-19 Lesson

“Racial Justice” Ideology

Teachers’ unions are writing the playbook of the hard left. The Freedom Foundation obtained Racial Justice in Education, an internal document published in 2018 by the National Education Association. It illustrates, in shocking detail, the degree to which the nation’s largest teachers’ union embraces the tenets of Critical Race Theory and shows how this neo-Marxist ideology serves as the fountainhead of the union’s support of a host of radical policies, from defunding the police to banning voter ID requirements. This guidebook, which remained almost invisible outside union circles, was produced well before these noxious trends became widely known. But their discovery shows that the NEA was critical in laying the groundwork for the movements that nearly tore our country apart in 2020–21. A mere two years after the NEA published Racial Justice in Education, the union’s evil plan came to fruition, as Portland and other cities starved law enforcement and CRT was shoved down children’s throats all over America.

A full reading of the eighty-page Racial Justice in Education leaves one stupefied. It also reveals that the NEA holds views on race that many, if not most, Americans and most teachers would find troubling or even repellent. For instance, the NEA believes that:

  • Structural Racism Is Everywhere. “Racial dynamics, disparities and divisions permeate our society, communities, schools and classrooms. Systemic racism is so deeply rooted in our history, culture, and institutions that there’s no escaping it. Visible or not, its impacts are ever-present,” says the NEA.[1]
  • Being Colorblind Is Racist. “Racism is perpetuated by silence—and silence is complicity. Being ‘colorblind’ often serves as a pretense to downplay the significance of race, deny the existence of racism, and erase the experience of students of color.”[2]
  • Whites Are Privileged Because of Their Race. “White people are racially privileged, even when they are economically underprivileged.”[3] (Tell that to an out-of-work West Virginia coal miner.)
  • Only Whites Can Be Racist. “[T]he biases of whites have a broader impact and get reinforced by institutions and systems of power in ways that the biases of people and communities of color do not.” In the section titled “Key Terms and Glossary,” the NEA defines “racism” as a “historically rooted system of power hierarchies based on race—infused in our institutions, policies and culture— that benefits white people and hurts people of color.”[4]
  • More Government Is the Answer. “Depicting government efforts to promote racial equity and inclusion as misguided, unnecessary and/or improper…[u]ndermines support for a significant government role in dismantling systemic racism” and “[s]uggests that if government would just ‘get out of the way’ (i.e., stop infringing on the individual freedom of whites), we could have a ‘colorblind’ country once and for all.”[5]
  • Fighting Racism Means Supporting Left-Wing Policies. In a section titled “Action Planning Guidance,” the NEA guide urges teachers to:
    • “Initiate a campaign to eliminate resource officers [police] from schools.”[6] (The AFT also makes this demand.)
    • “Work on campaigns or initiatives that attempt to divest from prisons.”[7]
    • “Join state comprehensive immigration reform campaign/s.”[8]
    • “Defend Dreamers from the latest attacks from the Trump administration.”[9]
    • “Support Black Lives Matter events and efforts to remove public symbols of racism and white supremacy. Start or support a campaign to remove statues or change school names that celebrate white supremacy or demean people of color.”[10]
    • “Start or join a campaign to pass automatic voter registration policies in your state. Start or join a campaign in your state to fight voter suppression, voting ID requirements, criminal re-enfranchisement and gerrymandering.”[11]

Like a tornado from Hell, the NEA’s preferred policies swept over America in 2020 and 2021. Woke mobs toppled statues of everyone from George Washington to abolitionists, police departments were defunded and police officers assaulted, businesses were destroyed and the streets ran red with blood, illegal immigration reached record levels, schoolchildren were taught to hate their country’s past and to judge each other on the basis of skin color…. It was the realization of the NEA’s dream.

Unfortunately, it was a nightmare for the rest of us.

Union officials are careful not to talk like this in public—but

Racial Justice in Education reveals their real agenda.

At the height of the insanity, the NEA’s 2021 Representative Assembly adopted several New Business Items (NBIs) endorsing Critical Race Theory. When it became apparent that these would cause serious blowback, the union scrubbed them from its website—but as our Max Nelson reported, the internet’s Wayback Machine has a way of keeping embarrassing items from disappearing down the memory hole. These included:

  • NBI A committed the NEA to eradicating “institutional racism in our public school system” by, among other things, “increasing the implementation of…critical race theory” and opposing “racist laws, policies, and practices; the over-criminalization of communities, students, and families of Native people and people of color; as well as the criminalization of poverty.”
  • NBI 2 directed the NEA to conduct opposition research on—in other words, dig up dirt and smear—“organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work,” i.e., promoting Critical Race Theory. If you’re critical of CRT, the NEA is going to hunt you down.
  • NBI 39 directed the NEA to “fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric” and to “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.”[12]

This was an NEA project, but the AFT, under Randi Weingarten, has also put leftist social and cultural projects in the forefront. The Government Accountability Project notes, “Rather than focus on pension issues and protection against mistreatment, Randi Weingarten’s agenda has emphasized radical changes in education that do not serve students or teachers.”[13]

As for serving parents…Hah! The teachers’ union big shots have come to regard parents as the enemy. They stand in the way of indoctrination. Those parents who aren’t on board with CRT or expanding the number of genders beyond male and female must be vanquished. Thus, the NEA’s EdJustice website encourages teachers to avail themselves of resources that urge them to establish “a private, virtual connection with an LGBTQ student that is not supported at home, so you can check in with them about their family dynamic and brainstorm self-care strategies.” This is an example of what the Government Accountability Project calls the effort by teachers’ unions to expand “the role of the school in the community and interrup[t] the traditional role of parents as the heads of the nuclear family.”[14]

But parents, as we are seeing, aren’t going to stand for this displacement any longer.

Critical Race Theory tells us that the public education system, like all of America, was conceived in vile racism and remains inherently racist. You’d think this line of argument might cause the teachers’ unions some discomfort—after all, they’ve been effectively controlling the system for decades—but it doesn’t seem to have cost them any lost sleep. Their main concern isn’t raising the next generation of informed citizens; it’s indoctrinating the next generation of liberal voters.

In the next installment, the COVID-19 crisis revealed the true character  the teachers unions.

This article is abridged version of chapter 4 of Freedom Is the Foundation: How We Are Defeating Progressive Tyranny by Aaron Withe (Post Hill Press, 2023). The citations were renumbered for this version. Subheadings and images were added for the web version.

[1] Racial Justice in Education resource guide, National Education Association, November 2018, p. 12.

[2] Ibid., p. 15.

[3] Ibid., p. 34.

[4] Ibid., pp. 23, 35.

[5] Ibid., p. 24.

[6] Ibid., p. 52.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., p. 58.

[9] Ibid., p. 59.

[10] Ibid., p. 63.

[11] Ibid., p. 75.

[12] Maxford Nelsen, “NEA ‘Racial Justice’ Guide Backs Left-Wing Priorities Like Defunding Police, Banning Voter ID,” Freedom Foundation, August 24, 2021,

[13] “Teachers Unions: From Academics to Activists,” Government Accountability Institute, p. 6.

[14] Ibid., pp. 22–23.

Aaron Withe

Aaron Withe is the chief executive officer of the Freedom Foundation.
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