Critics blast the nation’s largest labor union for putting politics before academics

Amid criticism that public schools are failing to educate students, their teachers’ unions seem focused on politics more than the classroom, critics say.

“If you had any doubts about the…

Amid criticism that public schools are failing to educate students, their teachers’ unions seem focused on politics more than the classroom, critics say.

“If you had any doubts about the priorities of teachers’ unions, just watch this bizarre speech by NEA President Becky Pringle,” Nicki Neilly, founder and president of Parents Defending Education, wrote in a post on X Monday.

Neilly shared a video of a widely panned speech given over the weekend by Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association (NEA). The NEA is the “largest labor union in the nation,” according to its website

Even the NEA’s biography of Pringle seems to allude to the fact it favors politics over academics, calling her a “fierce social justice warrior.” 

In her speech, Pringle proudly proclaims the union and its members need simply to “win” in order to help America’s students. This is where some say her speech “went off-the-rails.” 

“We must do this work! We get to do this work! We will do this work!” she screamed. “Because our students are depending on us to win all the things! NEA, we have to win all the things! All the things! All the things!” 

She also called for a complete overhaul of public education, promoting common progressive tropes such as “social justice” and “diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

“To unite not just our members, but the nation to reclaim public education as a common good, as the foundation of our democracy, and then transform it into something it was never designed to be – a racially and socially just and equitable system.” 

At one point, her speech turned blatantly political, seemingly bashing former President Trump’s administration even though President Joe Biden’s administration has been in power since January 2021. 

“We worked hard to rid ourselves of a tyrannical, deceitful, and corrupt White House, but the reality is that the seeds that were sown during that horrible season continue to germinate.” 

As further evidence of her political aspirations, records indicate Pringle has met with members of the Biden administration as many as 24 times since 2021. 

“White House visitor logs show that National Education Association (NEA) President Rebecca ‘Becky’ Pringle, who delivered a viral speech over the weekend that drew intense criticism, visited the Biden White House at least 24 times between 2021 and early 2024,” Fox News reported Tuesday. 

The visits, Fox says, included meetings with Biden’s national economic advisor, a member of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Vice President Kamala Harris’s deputy chief of staff, two of First Lady Jill Biden’s aids, including Susan Rice, and potentially Biden himself. 

The purpose of the meetings, presumably, was to enlist the administration’s help in her fight against school choice. 

“We will fight privatization. We will fight vouchers. We will fight any and all schemes to drain resources from our beloved public schools,” she declared. 

Corey DeAngelis, an outspoken critic of teachers’ unions and staunch supporter of educational freedom, blasted the NEA and Pringle, likening them to a cult that wants to own the nation’s children. 

“These power-hungry control freaks think they own your kids,” he told Fox News. “They’re in a cult that worships government and detests parents. It’s time to defund teachers’ unions and allow the money to follow the child. Becky Pringle pulled a Dwight Schrute. She is off-the-rails and desperate to maintain control over the minds of other people’s children.” 

Dwight Schrute is a fictional character from the television show “The Office,” who in one episode infamously praised his grandfather’s exploits as a Nazi soldier during World War II. 

Jason Bedrick, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation agreed, slamming Pringle’s speech as partisan and out of touch with the reality of the failing public school system. 

“Her overwrought, hyper-partisan tirade amounted to an advertisement for school choice,” he said in a statement. 

“During her speech, Pringle claimed the NEA would ‘continue to embrace the profound trust that has been placed in’ them. Apparently, she hasn’t seen the polls showing record-low public trust in public schools.  

“Even Pringle’s over-the-top, Dwight Schrute-like theatrics can’t distract from her union’s role in the dismal state of education in this country, from keeping schools closed for far too long during COVID, to shielding bad teachers from accountability – all at the expense of students’ learning.”