A group of Senate Republicans called Tuesday for the country’s largest teachers union to disclose more details about its plan to conduct research on groups that oppose the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms.
In a letter to National Education Association President Rebecca Pringle, Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said they were "deeply concerned" by two resolutions recently passed by the union.
"The United States has come a long way in its effort to promote equality, and CRT is both divisive and detrimental to the progress our nation has made," the senators said. "Simply put, CRT reinforces divisions on strict racial lines."
One of the resolutions, dubbed New Business Item 2, pledged funding toward opposition research targeting critics of critical race theory. The other resolution, New Business Item 39, pledged resources for the teaching of critical race theory as well as a team of staffers for union members "who want to learn more and fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric," among other measures.
Both measures were marked as "adopted as amended." References to the resolutions were later removed from NEA’s website.
"NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked," New Business Item 2 read.
The lawmakers called on the NEA to answer specific questions about the resolutions and to explain why references were removed from its website.
"Accordingly, may we know what information the NEA is collecting on critics of CRT? Are you conducting research on American children? For what purpose will this research be used?" the lawmaker said.
NEA representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Biden administration has cultivated close ties with prominent teachers unions since January. Earlier this month, President Biden spoke at the NEA’s annual meeting in Washington and touted his plan to increase pay for educators.