NEA teachers union spending $140K for 'enemies list' opposition research of groups turning up heat on schools

An NEA member told Fox News Digital that the teachers' union has 'no ability to tolerate somebody who doesn't agree with them'

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FIRST ON FOX – The National Education Association passed a resolution during their annual Representative Assembly in Chicago that would allocate thousands of dollars to conduct opposition research on 25 organizations that are supposedly attacking gender identity and sexual orientation freedoms in public schools. 

"NEA shall compile research to create fact sheets about the largest 25 organizations that are actively working to diminish a students' right to honesty in education, freedom of sexual and gender identify, and teacher autonomy," the resolution said. NEA's resolutions are called new business items (NBI) and represent the teachers' union's opinions and beliefs. They also open the door to funding.

The cost for compiling the list and for the research would amount to $140,625, NBI 15 said. The research will include probing into groups' funding sources, the leaders of the organizations, "connections to known entities that are seeking to dismantle public education, organization headquarters and chapter locations."

Rebecca ‘Becky’ Pringle is the president of the National Education Association, speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee, June 8, 2022.

Rebecca ‘Becky’ Pringle is the president of the National Education Association, speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee, June 8, 2022. (Andrew Harnik/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Nicole Neily of Parents Defending Education told Fox News Digital that she was very concerned about the resolution. "It’s not surprising that the unions would compile an ‘enemies list,'" she said.  

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"[The NEA's] policies are deeply unpopular with average American families - and, I suspect, with many of their rank-and-file membership - which means that they must enforce their ideology through bullying and intimidation. We will not be bullied, we will not be cowed, and we will not be silenced - we will continue to advocate for our children, because the past two years have made it abundantly clear that children’s welfare is the unions’ absolute last priority."

The research on the 25 organizations will be sent out to state affiliates so that they can be "armed with information to organize against attacks on public education."

"They're not just trying to change culture, they're trying to change what it means to be human," a retired union member, Jeralee Smith, told Fox News Digital. "They have no ability to tolerate somebody who doesn't agree with them."

President Joe Biden speaks during the National Education Association's annual meeting and representative assembly event in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2021. 

President Joe Biden speaks during the National Education Association's annual meeting and representative assembly event in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2021.  (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Other resolutions that were passed during the conference were seen by critics to have "anti-Israel" and "antisemitic" implications. For example, NBI 13 would allocate $9,000 for defending educators advocating for the Palestinian narrative "when they are under attack."

"The NEA will now be establishing protocols to support their teachers who face backlash when using one-sided, factually inaccurate sources that question Israel’s right to exist. The NEA's singling out and holding to a different standard the sole Jewish country is blatantly antisemitic. This is greatly concerning not only for Jewish NEA members, but also the many Jewish students, and all students, who will have these teachers pushing their antisemitic agenda in their classrooms," Rebecca Schgallis of United Against Antisemitism in Northern Virginia told Fox News Digital.

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Elana Fishbein of No Left Turn in Education also accused the union of Jew-hatred. "For the NEA to even permit these anti-Israel issues to be included among its new business items is antisemitic and reprehensible. They should be focusing their energy on strategies to improve student academic performance, instead of making foolish political statements," she said.

The union also passed resolutions relating to ensuring various "anti-LGBTQ+ legislation" around the country are defeated. NBI 41 stipulated that the NEA would take "all necessary steps" to overturn Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, which critics call the "Don't Say Gay bill." The law, which was signed in March, imposed restrictions on the ages that students can be introduced to topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity

Fox News Digital reached out to the NEA for comment but did not immediately receive a response. 

The NEA will work to overturn Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parents Rights in Education bill in March, according to a resolution adopted at the Representative Assembly. 

The NEA will work to overturn Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parents Rights in Education bill in March, according to a resolution adopted at the Representative Assembly.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Some resolutions that were proposed did not ultimately become adopted. For example, NBI 82, a resolution that would proclaim that there is institutional homophobia and transphobia in schools, was ultimately withdrawn. It would have included action items that would amount to $574,900. 

"It is time to acknowledge and address the systemic homophobia and transphobia taking place in our great public schools. NEA has an obligation to be at the forefront of dismantling an oppressive system full of hate, misinformation, and fear mongering," the proposed resolution said. 

Another resolution – NBI 63 – which ultimately did not meet a vote on the floor, proposed changing the word "mother" in contracts to "birthing parent" for the purpose of being inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community.

The NEA resolution, which ultimately was not brought to the floor, proposed language changes in contracts in order to be inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community.

The NEA resolution, which ultimately was not brought to the floor, proposed language changes in contracts in order to be inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community. (iStock)

"Using this contract language, members need not worry about how a Board of Education/solicitor defines ‘maternity leave,’ ‘mother,' and/or ‘father’; the language is an inclusive reflection of how LGBTQIA+ members build families," the proposed resolution said.

The union's goal is "to create a society where equity and justice are the rule, not the exception," the president of the NEA, Rebecca Pringle, said at the conference.

An adopted resolution, NBI 11, would focus on supporting queer and people of color to run for school boards. NBI 68, which was "awaiting debate" as of Thursday, would create a "task force" that would "advocate for courses… to navigate white supremacy culture."

The task force would also "Acknowledge and identify the manner in which educational courses maintain superficial courses instead of submerging Aspiring Educators in the reality of student experiences."

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Vice President Kamala Harris with Rebecca Pringle, president of the National Education Association, at the 2022 annual meeting and representative assembly in Chicago, Illinois, July 5, 2022.

Vice President Kamala Harris with Rebecca Pringle, president of the National Education Association, at the 2022 annual meeting and representative assembly in Chicago, Illinois, July 5, 2022. (Tannen Maury/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris praised the NEA on Tuesday. 

"NEA, you are extraordinarily effective as a group advocate for change, which is why we know that you have been able to see the success you have achieved.  And it is no surprise why, because we know unions know how to organize," she said. 

"[W]e… know, across our country, folks face barriers that have been built up over the years by corporate interests and anti-union politicians and regressive court cases," she added. "And so, our administration, together with you, we are all doing a lot to tear down those barriers."

The union previously released a statement to Fox News, which said, "Every year, NEA members submit New Business Items concerning a wide range of issues. Some are intimately tied to NEA operations 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."