NEA Convention 2014: Pearson’s Conspiracy Really Is Wide-Ranging

Earlier today I mentioned how long NEA’s enemies list has gotten. Little did I know how far the tentacles of the corporate monster can reach.

The delegates had a long debate about New Business Item 5, which concerned the evaluation of teacher candidates. Among other things, the item called on NEA to ensure that “edTPA developed by SCALE and scored by Pearson, Inc., currently mandated in several states, and other similar models, are not the only measure of a student’s readiness to enter the profession.”

We all know that Pearson is a charter member of the Axis of Education Evil, and it is in charge of the edTPA assessment for students who want to become teachers. It must be stopped, right?

Well hold your horses, hard-core union rider. SCALE is the acronym for the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity, whose adviser is the illustrious and union-beloved Linda Darling-Hammond. SCALE partnered with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), another union-beloved (and union-financially supported) organization to develop edTPA.

The edTPA is apparently scored entirely by classroom teachers and university professors, is endorsed by the union-beloved National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the self-loved National Education Association. In fact, sitting on the edTPA Policy Advisory Board are NEA secretary-treasurer (and soon to be NEA vice president) Becky Pringle and AFT president Randi Weingarten!

Egad, those corporate reformers are insidious.

Despite the hand their own leaders and leading lights had in creating and implementing this teacher candidate assessment, the delegates voted by a substantial margin to approve NBI 5. That’s right. NEA will be simultaneously advising edTPA and studying how to defang it.

If that seems goofy, it gets goofier.

The NBI doesn’t automatically undo NEA’s current policy. Instead, it creates a task force that will submit its recommendations for change to the union’s board of directors for action. That would be the same board of directors that must have approved the endorsement of edTPA in the first place and the placement of an NEA executive officer on its policy advisory board.