Sunday, July 20, 2014

Incoming NEA head inherits tension with Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Ned Resnikoff 07/19/14

Former elementary  school teacher Lily Eskelsen García will become president of America’s biggest labor union, the National Education Association (NEA), on Sept. 1. In the meantime, she already has plenty of work to do. The soft-spoken educator was elected president of the NEA on July 4, and she has spent the subsequent two weeks preparing for a major battle over U.S. education policy, particularly with regard to standardized testing. That battle will pit her not only against the forces of the right, but also the current presidential administration. Tensions have never been higher between teachers’ unions and President Obama’s Department of Education, and those tensions have already become García’s problem.   “This year it had a critical mass of people that said enough is enough.”

So far, García – who previously served as NEA’s secretary-treasurer for six years, followed by another six years as its vice president – has made no effort to downplay those tensions. In fact, her first remarks after being elected amounted to a broadside against the largely bipartisan policy of evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores.

“We must measure what matters and put students’ needs at the center of the system once again,” she said. “We can no longer allow politicians who have never stepped into a classroom define what it means to teach and learn."  .......To Read More.....
 
My Take – “We can no longer allow politicians who have never stepped into a classroom define what it means to teach and learn.” Well, isn’t that interesting? Although it seems perfectly rational we have to ask ourselves two questions. First, who has been responsible for outlining what constitutes teaching and learning in the past, and secondly, why would politicians want to step into the classroom and define what teaching and learning means unless it was a mess?

The answers seem simple to me. More and more students have to take remedial reading, writing and math in order to get into college. Why? Who has been responsible for imparting these skills, and failing, over these recent decades?

The politicians in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were almost never heard from when it came to education. Why? Is it because kids came out of school, even those who dropped out before finishing high school, could read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide? They knew where the countries in news were, they knew far more about American and World history than kids do today, and that includes college students, and even with the limited access to news they were more aware of current events because they were discussed in class.

So my question is this. If the professional educators are the ones responsible for bringing us to this level of ignorance and incompetence, why should we listen anything they have to say? However, I agree that’s its dangerous when politicians start making rules about education because leftist dogma can become ‘core ‘ instruction, as it is with Common Core.

The job of deciding what is taught, who teaches and how it’s taught should be left to the parents. And how’s that to be done? Easy! Vouchers! Let the schools compete and let those with the best methods win and make over the entire system.

As for the statement, “We must measure what matters and put students’ needs at the center of the system once again,” That's such a load of horsepucky when spoken by the head of America’s biggest labor union, the National Education Association. These are the people who have been responsible for placing the irrational and expensive demands of the teachers over the needs of the students. The teachers unions represent the teachers, not the students. What we really need to do is get rid of them as they are the most destructive force against a good education in the nation, and vouchers will be the biggest step in that direction.

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