Saturday, July 3, 2010

Notes from Camp: July 3

RA Developing Strong Positions on RttT, ESEA

This was the first morning at which the Ohio caucus met at what will be its regular time of 7:00. The RA itself has its latest start of the week on this day, giving the delegates until 11:00 to make the transition from hotels to Convention Center. Starting tomorrow, the RA will start at 10:00, so we'll have to move quickly to get there on time.

The theme emerging for this year's RA is anger, and that was addressed at both the caucus and the RA.

Delegates who wondered what the tone would be had their questions answered when President Dennis Van Roekel said in his keynote address, "Plain and simple – this is not the change I hoped for. Our members feel betrayed and so do I! Our members are angry. So am I!" Many delegates share the anger at Race to the Top, the government's competitive grant program that has been a nonstarter with most educators.

But the anger isn't directed just at RttT, which was part of the administration's stimulus plan. Delegates are also aware that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, laughably nicknamed No Child Left Behind by the Bush administration, is due for reauthorization and still has issues that need to be addressed. Delegates roared their approval when Van Roekel told them, "We must not allow another bad ESEA. Because if they take the old NCLB, fancy it up and call it the new ESEA, I think we ought to just call it TNT and blow the whole damn thing up!"

Delegates proceeded to pass a series of New Business Items attacking four key issues affecting education today.
  • NBI A makes it clear that "NEA opposes any effort by the United States Department of Education or its Secretary . . . , states or school districts, to undermine educators' rights or the basic right of all students to have access to a great public school." The NBI goes on to enumerate and attack increasingly-prevalent characteristics of federal and state education policy.
  • NBI B commits NEA to improving ESEA, and identifies characteristics to be required in an improved ESEA.
  • NBI C expresses NEA’s "commitment to . . . the immigration process, protecting the integrity of the family unit, and assuring that every child/student, regardless of his or her immigration status or the immigration status of his or her parents, has the right to a free public education in a safe and supportive environment."
  • NBI D aims at recent curricular attacks, most notably in Texas, and warns that "scholarly academic research should not be dismissed or diminished simply because it contradicts a school board member's political or religious views."
Debates over these issues dominated the Representative Assembly session. At the conclusion of the RA, many delegates headed off to religious services, scheduled for this Saturday evening since Sunday this weekend is the Fourth of July.

Tomorrow, some delegates will try to get the RA to make an even stronger condemnation of Race to the Top with NBI 2, which, if passed, will take a position of "no confidence in the US Department of Education's Race to the Top competitive grant policies and guidelines."


Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home