Facing intense resistance from teachers’ unions, the Obama administration has begun trying to persuade union leaders, teachers and the public that its proposals for overhauling federal education policies are good for teachers and for public schools.
In remarks prepared for delivery to Congress on Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued that the proposed policies would elevate the teaching profession by encouraging better tests, by ending the demoralizing practice of mislabeling thousands of schools as failures and by offering teachers opportunities for career growth.
“We think there is a lot in our proposal that teachers will like,” Mr. Duncan said in the prepared testimony, a copy of which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday.
Sure - like tests in every subject in every year so that the administration can track "value-added" data and fire "bad teachers."
Or like closing 5% of the "worst" schools in the nation and firing all the teachers.
Or like making the next "worst" 5% work longer hours, longer days, longer school years and take PD classes on Saturdays.
Or like changing how Title 1 money is handed out so that only districts that are "reform-minded" (i.e., cronies of Duncan, Obama, Gates, and Broad) get the money.
Yeah, what's not to like about those proposals?
Jesus, how dumb does Duncan think teachers are?
Anyway, the Times says so far the unions aren't buying what Obama and Duncan are selling:
But the union leaders were not easily convinced. In interviews, they said the administration’s proposal for rewriting the main law outlining federal policies on public schooling, No Child Left Behind, would continue what they called an overemphasis on standardized tests, impose federal mandates on issues traditionally handled in collective bargaining, and probably lead to mass firings of teachers in low-performing schools.
“Teachers alone cannot turn around struggling schools, and the administration’s plans put 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.3 million members.
Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, which represents 3.2 million members, also criticized the plan. “They say they are offering flexibility and an end to micromanaging our schools,” he said, “but the administration’s blueprint mandates to 15,000 school districts how they should evaluate and compensate teachers.”
Over the weekend, the administration released a 41-page blueprint for rewriting the No Child law, and the president sent it to Congress on Monday.
Both Ms. Weingarten and Mr. Van Roekel immediately criticized the administration’s proposals. In Mr. Duncan’s remarks, prepared for his scheduled appearance in back-to-back hearings before the Senate and House education committees on Wednesday, he outlined the administration’s views on teachers, the teaching profession, and how the blueprint would affect both.
Both union presidents said, however, that the administration’s plans would compel school districts to choose from among four school intervention models, which they described as unfair to teachers, to receive federal money to finance the turnarounds. Three of the four models would involve dismissing teachers and principals.
Still reverberating through the debate was the decision last month by a Rhode Island school board, following the administration’s recommendations, to fire all 93 teachers at the local high school, a move both Mr. Duncan and President Obama endorsed.
Ms. Weingarten said the administration’s proposals would require districts to begin overhauling thousands of low-performing schools in coming months, even though new teacher evaluation systems might not be ready for years. “Under these proposals, school districts can carry out mass firings of teachers, without any evidence that a valid evaluation system is in place or being used,” she said. The two unions campaigned vigorously for Mr. Obama in 2008.
The administration needs to know that the unions will NOT be campaigning AT ALL for Obama in 2010 or 2012 if this odious law passes.
Same goes for Congressional Dems.
Vote for this law, no vote from teachers.
That's the deal.
And we must make sure the NEA and the AFT do not sell us out on this.
So we have to call and write them as well so that they know this is a non-compromise situation.
I'm going to write the AFT again today. Then I will call my congressman and senators. Finally I will write the White House and let them know how deeply disappointed 95% of the teachers at my school are with them over the RI firings and the NCLB Jr. proposals and how NONE of them will be voting for Dems or Obama this time around or in 2012.
That message will resonate.
It's clear the admin is worried that the unions and teachers are so angry at this and have grown furious at Obama personally over the RI firings and the anti-teacher proposals.
They can read the tea leaves for the elections of 2010 and 2012.
Let us press this bastards on this.