It turns out the National Education Association won’t be replacing “mothers” with “birthing parents,” at least not this year.
The nation’s largest teachers union said in a Thursday statement that a hot-button proposal to swap out the words “mother,” “father” and “maternity leave” with gender-neutral terms in contract language didn’t come up for a vote this week at the annual meeting.
“NBI 63 [New Business Item 63] was not considered on the floor of NEA’s 2022 Representative Assembly,” said the NEA in an email to The Washington Times.
The item sought to change “mother” to “birthing parent,” “father” to “non-birthing parent,” and “maternity leave” to “parental leave” in the name of LGBTQ inclusion.
The delegates did pass several other left-of-center proposals, including items on abortion, LGBTQ issues and countering conservative education groups, at the assembly in Chicago, which concluded Wednesday.
The successful items included a proposal to spend $140,625 to create and distribute “fact sheets” about the 25 largest organizations seeking to “dismantle public education,” including information about funding sources, leadership, and office locations.
“You cannot put a price tag on truth,” said one delegate, according to Education Week. “We have to know our enemies.”
A whopping 74% approved an item to take a public stand “in defense of abortion and reproductive rights” and “encourage members to participate in activities including rallies and demonstrations,” Education Week reported.
Also winning passage was a $56,000 proposal to “take all necessary steps” to overturn Florida’s HB 1557, decried by foes as the “don’t say gay” bill, which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3.
The delegates also approved spending nearly $500,000 to present “a unified response to the rise in gun violence,” and use the words “murder” and “murderer” when applicable in reference to mass shootings.
Failing to make the cut was NBI 37, which called for the NEA to advocate for a national policy of mandatory masking and COVID-19 vaccines in schools. It was voted down by 84% of the delegation.
“New business items direct the union to do something for a year, but they aren’t a permanent statement of belief,” said Education Week’s Madeline Will. “It only takes 50 delegates to move such a measure to the floor of the representative assembly.”
The “birthing parent” item stoked an uproar after it was exposed Tuesday by Terry Stoops, director of the John Locke Foundation’s Center for Effective Education, along with a dozen other items up for consideration at the meeting.
“The difference this year is that the NEA decided that they weren’t going to publish their agenda and make it available to the public, and so that’s where I stepped in and I said, I’m going to find this agenda and I’m going to make sure that I let everyone know what the NEA is talking about at their representative assembly,” Mr. Stoops said Thursday on Fox’s “The Ingraham Angle.”
Mr. Stoops said he was locked out of his Twitter account Wednesday for violating the platform’s policy against “posting private information,” which he denies, saying that he obtained the list of NEA proposals from a publicly accessible website. The document is now posted on the Locke Foundation site.
“The truth is that NEA bosses wanted to keep its conference agenda private because it laid bare their obsession with social justice and appalling disregard for the needs of public school children and educators,” he told the Carolina Journal.
Mr. Stoops, who said he has appealed the Twitter suspension, said that the business items had little to do with classroom instruction.
“They seem incapable of talking about what really matters: student learning,” Mr. Stoops said. “I am comforted knowing that the union continues to lose members, dues, and influence, particularly in North Carolina.”
The document, “RA Today: The Official Newspaper of the 2022 NEARepresentative Assembly,” listed dozens of proposed business items up for debate. They were introduced not by the NEA leadership but by delegates or state affiliates.
“Every year, NEA members submit New Business Items concerning a wide range of issues,” said the NEA statement. “Some are intimately tied to NEAoperations and others reflect policy positions delegates would like the organization and its state-level affiliates to take. NEA is committed to democratic processes and open debate. These values are fundamental not just to NEA’s vision as a union but to our functioning as a multiracial democracy.”
The July 3-6 gathering was the union’s first in-person representative assembly since 2019. About 4,500 showed up at the event, while 1,500 participated virtually.
Reporting by The Washington Times.