An interesting debate arose this morning when NBI 35 was introduced by a delegate from Massachusetts. It called on NEA to “withdraw from the #TeachStrong Coalition of the Center for American Progress.” The reasoning was that NEA should not participate in a coalition with groups with which they disagree on most issues, such as Education Post, National Council on Teacher Quality, Stand for Children and Teach for America.
The two sides were quite distinct. If any of the reform organizations agreed with NEA on an issue then, in the words of one delegate, “They’re just faking.” It’s all just a ploy to get NEA’s name on their agenda.
But the opponents carried the day using two different arguments. One suggested reform organizations weren’t using NEA, but NEA was using them. “We’re not just at the table. We’re controlling the table,” he said.
The other was put forth by Maddie Fennell from Nebraska, who has been working these issues from the inside for many years. She emphasized that NEA was part of a larger education world and had to be active in it.
“Don’t build walls around NEA,” she warned delegates.
I have to admit that’s an even better metaphor than living on a deserted island.
The measure was handily defeated after a call for a standing vote, keeping NEA in the #TeachStrong fold.