"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, August 05, 2007

NEA on NCLB

Following the appearance of the Educator Roundtable petition online, it took just a matter of days for the NEA to mobilize a warning to every local affiliate in the nation to stay clear of the ER petition to dismantle NCLB.

Now the NEA has its own petition, and if the stakes were not so high in this showdown on rearthorization of NCLB, this NEA "protest" would be comical. As things stand, it's just very sad:
It’s time for a change! No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), isn’t working. This year we have an opportunity to make it more responsive to the real needs of children.

As one of your constituents, I urge you, the entire Congress, and the President to help us improve the law by:

* Using more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance.

* Reducing class size to help students learn.

* Providing financial incentives to teachers who work in hard-to-staff schools.

* Calling teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards "highly qualified."

* Supporting teachers of multiple subjects, including special education and rural educators.

It’s time to change NCLB. By signing this petition, I am standing up for students, educators, and public education.
The Bush Administration has one of its big dirty jackboots on the neck of America's public school system, and this is the most outrage that the NEA can muster?

Well, here are a couple of facts for the NEA chiefs to consider as they huddle with Miller and Kennedy to figure out how to appear supportive of teaching and learning while bowing to the money of the education-industrial complex:
  • Unless NCLB's AYP schedule is disrupted, there will no public school systems left by 2014.
  • Unless the draconian chain gang approach to scripted teaching and testing is dumped, most parents will abandon the public schools whether or not AYP is achieved.
  • Unless equitable teaching and learning replace testing as the prime mover of education, America's political and economic prospects will quickly erode at the same rate that our commitment to democracy evaporates.
  • Unless "trust" regains the status that "accountability" has usurped during the past ten years, a police state will most likely result in the foreseeable future.

Peter Henry reports that the NEA had a significant presence at Yearly Kos in Chicago, and there the NEA suits appeared full of protest and bluster about NCLB. No, they are not for repeal—they just want to appear that they are in opposition to NCLB in a venue that demanded it--a venue with a lot of people who have remained supportive of the labor movement despite NEA's abandonment of the principles that made the movement great.

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