Dennis-Van-Roekel1The National Education Association is reinventing itself after they have had a significant drop in membership over the last several years, The Huffington Post reports.  The NEA expects a loss of 308,000 members and $65 million in dues between 2010-2014.  They there is a new call for more responsibility from teachers.  If you are a liberal however, never fear, because it will remain a Democrat shill organization.   In remarks he gave to this year’s annual meeting he said:

…we must do everything we can to re-elect President Barack Obama!

President Obama has earned our support. In his first term,

  • He secured federal funds to keep more than 400 thousand educators working with students.
  • He expanded access to health care to some 30 million Americans through the Affordable Care Act, which thankfully was upheld last week by the Supreme Court.
  • He issued an Executive Order to open the door of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of students who are eligible for the Dream Act
  • And just last week, he led the way to ensure that student loans remain affordable

We know the other side will out-SPEND us in this election – but we can’t let them out-WORK us!

We WILL re-elect President Obama – ARE YOU READY?

Yes – We must engage in the political system.

Don’t they think their political advocacy contributes to their declining membership?  Looking further at his remarks you continue to see more of the same rhetoric we’ve always seen out of the NEA.

Everyone seems to know how WE ought to do OUR job. Too often it’s “Test the students, then test them some more” crowd. They want to Use those test scores to evaluate teachers, label students, and embarrass schools.

Oh yes we unwashed masses are too unintelligent to know how kids should best be taught.

The purpose of public education is access and equity! That’s why it’s public!

I thought the purpose behind public education was to actually educate.  Silly me.

Not a curriculum narrowed to fit the confines of high stakes standardized tests … but a rich curriculum that includes art, music, history, sports, drama, science …

I actually agree with him here, but later on he diverges to typical liberal educator drivel…

But there’s more to education than academics. So when we talk about the WHY of public education, we have to address the needs of the WHOLE CHILD.

That means including issues like health care, good nutrition, a safe family and school environment – ALL these things affect learning and impact student development.

We aren’t ONLY their teacher, or their bus driver, or the person who serves their lunch – we are an adult in that child’s life.

No that isn’t the role of public education.  Because it has taken on a nanny mentality schools don’t do a proper job educating.  Because they elevate teacher over the parent is another reason so many public schools fail.  Certainly there are environmental issues at play that impact education, but how arrogant to think that educators are the people to address those ills.  This is where churches, families, mentors, and neighborhood organizations come in.  Schools get enough time with kids.  They don’t need anymore because they typically do a poor job with the time they do have.

Focus on educating kids, not providing social services and worse yet indoctrinating them.

He went on with more *goodies*:

To help students succeed in these challenging times, we must also harness the strength of our association to take CHARGE of the teaching profession. We need to support our members to define what good teaching looks like – so others can’t reduce good teaching to standardized tests.

And we must have a real say in how educators are prepared, trained and evaluated!…

…Are we willing to assert our leadership, and take RESPONSIBILITY for our professions?…

…I’m so tired of OTHERS defining the solutions… without even asking those who do the work every day of their professional life.

…There are plenty of people outside our profession who have their own ideas about what we should be doing, how we should be evaluated, and how to improve public education – like privatization, unregulated charters, and vouchers.

Frankly, our current system allowed the market for those ideas to exist. We are part of that system – a system that has not successfully addressed the drop-out crisis and allows kids who are poor to be stuck in schools that do not meet their needs – placed into classrooms year after year with the least qualified, least experienced teachers.

They’re for more responsibility only if they get to define the terms.  Again I agree that teaching shouldn’t be reduced to standardized tests, but the NEA for many years has been an impediment to real reform.  They frankly haven’t earned a seat at the table, let alone should be considered leaders.  Some of their members certainly, but the union itself – no. Their declining membership and what we saw in the Wisconsin recall elections is that the influence of public employee unions such as the NEA is rapidly losing its influence and that I believe is a good thing.   As far as school choice options go, those “ideas” should exist because we as a nation do believe in a free market system, and some competition would do public schools good.  Our neighbors to the north have demonstrated that in Edmonton, Alberta.  But hey according to Dennis Van Roekel we should just give the reigns of reform over to the group that led us down this path.

No thank you.

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