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NEA Takes Action


Last week, NEA announced its opposition to the House's NCLB discussion draft. Its California chapter launched an online advertising campaign against the draft. This week, it's clear they haven't changed their minds.

Yesterday, NEA sent out this "action alert" urging members to contact their members of Congress about the bill.

The overall message is to tell Congress to "slow down," the alert says.

It concludes: "Instead of rushing to pass legislation that will offer more bureaucracy, more mandates, and less help for students and educators, Congress should take the time to craft a bill that will truly help ensure great public schools for every child!"

The alert also lists the things the union doesn't like in the draft. Its accountability plan relies "overwhelmingly on just two (reading and math) low-quality statewide standardized tests." It includes pay for performance for teachers. It doesn't include class-size reduction. And more.

In San Francisco today, the California Teachers Association will hold a news conference outside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The NEA affiliate will unveil a postcard opposing the House draft that 1,000 California teachers signed. The news advisory, which is not online, says the postcard is the size of a garage door. The CTA has its own legislative alert.

This is quite a public display of the union's power, and it's over a discussion draft. What's going to be next?


The real question here is what the CTA is willing to agree to:

Will the CTA sign off on a system that sets clear, objective, and
stringent criteria for members of its profession that ensures that
they have the education, experience, and ongoing support they need to
enter and succeed in the classroom? Many teachers will tell you that
there is no such system now.

WIll this set of criteria reflect the fact that how well children do
in school will have lifelong effects for them and for our society?

Will the CTA support and protect a transparent reporting system that
identifies areas in need of improvement and targets intervention
efforts proportionate to the severity of the problem? (Hint: infant
mortality rates are reported separately from the speed of discharge
for birthing mothers. Hint: doctors whose patients have health-
threatening outcomes and whose methods do not meet professional
standards are reviewed by medical boards. Hospitals where there are
outbreaks of sickness or death are investigated by medical commissions).

Will the CTA agree to a system under which its members are
compensated commensurate with their skills, market demand, and
societal needs? (Hint: emergency room nurses, for example, often get
paid more than nurses who work in other areas of the hospital. Hint:
nurses who work the "graveyard" i.e, overnight, shift often get a pay
differential incentive over and above the salary for those who work
the more desirable day shifts).

Will the CTA agree to a merit pay system for its members as other
workers, including union workers, do? A system that rewards success
tied to clear and discernible outcomes?

And last, but not least: who will ask CTA these questions? And when
does CTA plan to give an unequivocal answer that they can stick to
for any length of time?


Good questions for the CTA. Why not ask the NEA the same questions.

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: Charles, Good questions for the CTA. Why not ask the read more
  • Charles Barone: The real question here is what the CTA is willing read more



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