The National Education Association is showing how left-of-center interests push for higher taxes by using the name “Strong Schools, Strong Communities,” just as groups in Williamson and Sumner counties do.
The NEA, according to its website, likes the term because it tests well with audiences.
In a series of PowerPoint presentations, the NEA rails against lower taxes and smaller government, saying those things hurt public schools.
The NEA website also teaches people about introducing these concepts to political allies.
Representatives from the NEA and Strong Schools of Sumner County did not return requests for comment Monday or Tuesday.
In an email through the group’s Facebook page, an unidentified spokesperson for Williamson Strong said their group affiliates with neither the NEA nor any other national organization.
The use of the “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” slogan is a coincidence, the spokesperson said.
“We’re a handful of local Williamson County parents who have a Facebook page and website focusing on issues that affect our kids’ schools,” the spokesperson said.
As reported, people in Williamson and Sumner counties suspect the Strong Schools movement has ties to teachers’ unions.
The NEA PowerPoint presentations show a grudge against Ronald’s Reagan’s economic policies during the 1980s, as well Reagan’s moves to deregulate private business.
The material is packaged as part of eight hour-long lessons encouraging campaigns to promote raising taxes for public schools at the local and state levels, according to the NEA’s website.
The PowerPoint presentations say union membership made the national economy strong between 1949 and 1977, and during those years taxing the wealthy made for better public schools.
“Many of the current economic conditions that are creating massive cuts in our public education budgets are a result of the economic policy agenda implemented in the 1980s,” according to one PowerPoint passage.
The material, written in 2011, says raising taxes won’t harm the national economy, and tax cuts fail to stimulate economic growth.
The Heritage Foundation, however, says “Americans enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom” during the 1980s because Reagan reduced business taxes.
“Not only did Reaganomics produce the longest expansion in America’s peacetime history, it did so while simultaneously reducing inflation, a feat many economists believed could not be accomplished,” according to the Heritage website.
“Gross National Product rose 32 percent, and median family income hit record levels. Thanks to the creation of 20 million new jobs, the proportion of the U.S. population holding jobs reached a new record of 63.1 percent.”
As reported, Strong Schools of Sumner County took credit for influencing county commissioners to raise county property taxes an additional 23 percent to pay for new school construction and renovation.
Two county residents said the group does nothing but advocate for tax increases and hurl personal insults at anyone who disagrees.
Meanwhile, 40 miles south, in Williamson County, people said similar things about Williamson Strong — and some said they wouldn’t speak on the record for fear of retaliation.
Another woman reportedly involved with the group, Susan Drury, is a campaign consultant for the Service Employees International Union.
Williamson Strong, some say, has bullied several critics into silence, as it rails against vouchers and refers to people who disapprove of the way the school teaches about Islam as bigoted and small-minded.
Media Trackers says labor unions are responsible for the Strong Schools movement.
Contact Christopher Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Chris Butler on his professional Facebook page Chris Butler Writer/Journalist