Teachers in Idaho who object to the “liberal” politics of the National Education Association and its affiliates announced this month that they are forming their own union.
Members of the new union, Independent Educators of Idaho, decided to split from Idaho’s nea affiliate after becoming increasingly disenchanted with the union’s support of Democratic candidates and various controversial issues, said Dianna Robertson, president of the group and a teacher at Ammon Elementary School in Idaho Falls.
nea members must “swallow the fact that their membership dues are being used to help elect Walter Mondale and push a host of controversial noneducational issues that many oppose,” Ms. Robertson said at a Sept .7 press conference to announce the new union’s formation.
The nea resolutions that members of the new group find objectionable include support of affirmative action for homosexual teachers, tax-paid abortions, gun control, and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.
“We are not particularly worried about them siphoning off any of our members,” said Gale Moore, a spokesman for the Idaho Education Association, an nea affiliate.
The nea is a “democratic organization” and the stands it takes on issues have been voted on by the members of the association, Ms. Moore added.
The National Education Association is conducting a $1.5-million television advertising campaign this fall that will focus on the key contributions teachers make to excellence in education.
“Our new TV spots highlight teachers who create the classroom spark that fires students’ imagination and desire to learn,” said Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the teachers’ union.
In addition to television clips, to be aired on the NBC and ABC networks, radio versions of the advertisements will be broadcast and promotional posters will be distributed to every school in the country.
The Council for Basic Education will award fellowships of $3,000 to teachers of the humanities in grades 9-12 to support study during the summer of 1985.
The fellowship program, now in its third year, is designed to recognize the importance of the humanities in a balanced curriculum and to give outstanding teachers an opportunity to enrich their knowledge of the humanities, said William J. Bennett, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in a statement.
Funded by the neh, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, the 150 fellowships will be awarded on April 15.
Full-time teachers with at least three-fifths of their schedule in the humanities, five years of teaching experience, and a master’s degree or the equivalent are eligible.
For further information and applications, write Independent Study in the Humanities, Dept. 12, CN6331, Princeton, N.J. 08541. The deadline for applications is Dec. 1.--cc
A version of this article appeared in the September 19, 1984 edition of Education Week as Teacher Column