Monday, July 14, 2008

NEA too big for its britches?

Here's an attack by Richard Whitmire on the NEA for "dissing" the mis-using of phony "accountability" to privatize the schools. Watch how the AFT under Weingarten will be distinguished from the NEA as being more reasonable and reform-minded as Randi reprises the Al Shanker role of the 80's and 90's. The NEA at the time,which had been holding fast for proper funding, blinked under the joint assault of business, politicians and the AFT. Let's hope for a firmer stand today- but don' t get your hopes up too far.

I understand the Broader, Bolder argument that schools can’t do it all. But some things, especially semifixable things, can’t be put off until poverty is “solved.” And as Core Knowledge, KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Green Dot and other schools have demonstrated, it is possible to make a difference by changing what can be changed.

By dissing successful charters and tough school accountability, the NEA has drifted so far leftward that even the Rev. Al Sharpton has drawn a line in the sand. Teaming up with reform school leaders such as New York’s Joel Klein, Sharpton’s Education Equality Project is calling out the teachers unions on issues such as protecting incompetent teachers and tolerating the widespread school failures among African-American boys.

The full piece is at:

NEA too big for its britches
By: Richard Whitmire
July 9, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Leonie Haimson on NYCEdNews listserve:

    Richard Whitmire, editorial writer for USA today, parrots the new conventional wisdom, praising Joel klein while lambasting the NEA for pointing out the flaws in NCLB.

    Apparently, Obama made a speech to the NEA, in which, among other things, he praised charter schools and performance pay. The teachers rightfully booed. Excerpt from Whitmire:

    “And the lusty boos for performance pay? American parents are willing to pay far more for a quality education, but only if that education comes with high-quality math and science teachers attracted and retained by free market salaries.”

    This is pure PR spin. I have yet to see any poll of parents that shows their support for performance pay anywhere near the level that they favor more preK or smaller classes.

    Instead, the evidence shows that American parents are willing to pay more for reforms that actually have been proven to work -- smaller classes, above all – a remedy which the DC pundits continue to ignore.

    Whitmire: don’t try to pin your agenda (or that of Joel Klein) on us!

    Leonie Haimson


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