A very strongly worded New Business Item that will be debated sometime this afternoon at the RA makes some blistering criticisms of the U.S. secretary of education.
We probably won't get to it until after President Dennis Van Roekel's speech, but it is interesting to see that even in the face of all the anti-bargaining legislation out in the states, the union is still really upset about things like the Race to the Top program.
It would direct the NEA president to communicate "aggressively, forcefully, and immediately" to Barack Obama about all the things the union doesn't like about Arne Duncan.
Essentially, this is a laundry list of all the beef the union has with the Obama administration education policies, ranging from its support of the Central Falls, R.I., teacher firings, to its use of competitive grants, to its support for charter schools, to the four School Improvement Grants turnaround strategies, to teacher evaluations based in part on student scores, to what it describes as Duncan's practice of "disrespecting and failing to honor the professionalism of educators across this country."
It really ought to be subtitled "Thirteen Things We Hate About Arne Duncan."
The New Business Item was submitted by the union's board of directors, so it carries a fairly definitive sense of where the union stands.
I continue to be fascinated by the NEA's tendency of reserving its harshest criticism for Duncan and almost ignoring Obama himself. The same dynamic was on full display at last year's RA. The only explanation that springs to mind is that this bifurcation is a way for delegates to let off steam about policies they don't like, while still ultimately supporting a Democratic candidate.
For the full list of grievances against Duncan, read New Business Item C.