| August 19, 2014

Labor union leader drops the mask

Sometimes what people say is in fact exactly what they think — and it can reveal a great deal about their values and attitudes. Members of the Oklahoma Education Association should take note.

When we last heard from National Education Association vice president Lily Eskelsen García, she was consigning some gun-rights supporters to eternal perdition. “I’m not an ordained minister, I’m not a theologian,” she said, “but these guys are going to hell.” Now Mrs. García is back in the news again, the subject of an admiring (of course) profile in The Washington Post as she prepares to ascend to the presidency of the nation’s largest labor union.

Mrs. García defends teacher tenure. She says standardized testing is a “phony” accountability system. She says student testing must end. Teachers alone should decide how kids will be educated (or not) and everyone else, especially the people’s elected representatives, needs to butt out. She says school reforms are “stupid.” (Well, not all reforms. She remains committed to the Common Core State Standards, saying, “I read the standards, and I love them.”)

Mrs. García and her husband, a Mexican national, have collaborated on a children’s book called Rabble Rousers about “social justice heroes,” including Cesar Chavez.

If that all sounds like a throwback to the tie-dyed sixties, keep in mind that this woman will be the primary spokesman and senior executive for the nation’s largest labor union for the next six years. All the more reason for Oklahoma policymakers to enact reforms that make certain that government is doing nothing to prop up blatantly political organizations such as the NEA and its affiliates — such as collecting dues on their behalf.

Photo: Atomazul /

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