Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

The Good Old Days

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 25•09

I know it will tax your memories, but remember way back in the misty past when the teachers’ unions and President Obama were on the same page? It was in the halcyon days of March 2009. And even in July, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel was telling his delegates, “What a difference a year makes” and chiding the press for emphasizing where the unions and Obama diverged.

Now, after a glacial period just short of three months, the meme has turned. AFT President Randi Weingarten is taking her cues from Diane Ravitch and referring to Obama’s education agenda as “Bush III.” NEA savaged the Race to the Top guidelines for their “top-down approach” and “narrow agenda.” California Teachers Association President David Sanchez said, “To be perfectly honest, it’s disappointing again. Our perception is it’s more of the same, and that’s not good, because we thought we were going to be able to change something, make some true reform in public education.” He also advised Obama to “get off the merit pay idea, because that ain’t gonna work.”

Evidently that “seat at the table” rhetoric we kept hearing about turned out to be the electric chair. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will speak to the NEA board of directors this weekend and I’m sure he’ll get an earful. I’m also sure he’ll nod his head sympathetically, stick to his talking points, and the Obama administration will continue down the path it selected more than two years ago. What will the teachers’ unions do about that? What can they do?

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5 Comments

  1. Darren says:

    They’ve already given him their money and helped get him elected. There’s no way on earth they’ll back the Republican 3 years from now. So they have nothing to offer him. NEA is Obama’s b**ch.

  2. Jim Stegall says:

    In the words of that great American social critic, Nelson Muntz, “HA-ha!”

  3. [...] salary scale (in exchange for ending tenure) proposed by DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to the mandates for expanding charter schools and implementing performance-based teacher pay contained in the Race [...]

  4. [...] the two national teachers unions now face the equivalent of a political “electric chair” in their education policy discussions with a Democratic presidential administration … big [...]

  5. Dick Schutz says:

    Secretary Duncan is still ostensibly in a “Listening and Learning” mode but he’s been more politicking and speaking than L&L. His L&L test performance is “Below Basic” in terms of AYP.

    “The Race to the Top” is an empty slogan that will implode. the only question is when and who the blame will be pinned on.

    The Obama administration was perfectly positioned to pin the blame for the failure of NCLB on the Bush administration. For unknown reasons, they bought into the failure, and now appear hell-bent to compound it. That’s not “Change We Can Believe In.”

    But it’s still early in the game. The Secretary will be listening in Copenhagen this week. Maybe he’ll learn something there.