NEA Leadership Attacks Grassroots Activists for Working to Bring Down NCLB
Ohanian Comment:What is the NEA leadership afraid of? That its members might think for themselves?
Take a look at how educators reacted to the Minnesota NEA bullying.
You can read the Educator Roundtable Open Letter to the Rank and File Members of the NEA, responding to this memo. Maybe the NEA should start talking with--and listening to--their members.
Important question for NEA dues-payers: Why on earth is the NEA leadership so adamantly opposed to dismantling NCLB? Could it be because they sat at the table during its writing?
Just look at the big guns employed by the NEA to work at stopping us grassroots activists from bringing down NCLB.
From: Anderson, Melinda [NEA] [mailto:MAnderson@nea.org]
Sent: Wed 12/13/2006 12:37 PM
To: State-Presidents [AFF]; State-Executive-Directors [AFF]
Cc: State-GR-Directors [AFF]; State_Affiliate_Comm_Liaison; VanRoekel, Dennis [NEA]; Eskelsen, Lily [NEA]; NCUEA President [NEA]; NCHE President [NEA]; NCESP President [NEA]; Daniels, Anthony [NEA]; NEAR President [NEA]; Executive Staff [NEA]; FieldOps [NEA]; GR.Allstaff [NEA]; PR.AllStaff; Billirakis, Mike [NEA]; Cebulski, Mark [NEA]; Crowder, Carolyn [NEA]; Marks, Michael [NEA]; Pringle, Becky [NEA]; Smith, Marsha [NEA]
Subject: Message from Reg Weaver & John Wilson: NEA *Does Not* Endorse NCLB Petition
State Affiliate Presidents
State Affiliate Executive Directors
Beware: NEA Does Not Endorse Online NCLB Petition
We have important information to share about a group of education advocates/activists calling themselves the "Educator Roundtable." (www.educatorroundtable.org ) This new organization has posted online a new anti-NCLB petition -- A Petition Calling for the Dismantling of the No Child Left Behind Act. The group has just issued a press release (see text below) to officially launch its effort to obtain signatures for the petition.
Information about the petition and calls for signing it have been circulating on many email lists. Affiliates, NEA staff, and others are asking questions about the petition and whether or not NEA endorses it.
The short answer? Absolutely not.
While the initiators of the petition are well-meaning and share many of the same concerns we have with NCLB, the petition does not represent our views. It calls for the dismantling of NCLB and does not propose any positive changes or alternatives.
Please get the word out in your state that:
· Some of the petition's initiators have been critical of NEA and our efforts around NCLB.
· The petition is not consistent with NEA's Positive Agenda for ESEA or our messaging (see www.nea.org/esea for details).
· We would not want NEA affiliates to sign the petition or promote it. Instead direct our members and local affiliates to http://www.nea.org/lac/esea/index.html so they can email members of Congress about our Positive Agenda.
Have questions or need more information? Contact Joel Packer, Director, Education Policy and Practice Department, (202) 822-7329.
Thanks for all you continue to do to ensure great public schools for every child!
cc: State Affiliate Government Relations Directors
State Affiliate Public Relations Directors
Dennis Van Roekel
NEA Executive Committee
NEA Board of Directors
Chair, NEA Student Program
NEA Executive Staff
State ESEA Contacts
NEA Field Operations
A Petition Calling For the Dismantling of the No Child Left Behind Act
December 13, 2006
Thousands of educators, parents, and concerned citizens are participating in a coordinated
movement to end the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Spearheading the effort is the Educator
Roundtable, which has issued a petition calling on legislators to vote against reauthorizing the
law. In its first week the petition received over 12,000 signatures. For the full text of the petition
Longtime educator Marion Brady—one of the petition’s authors—explains that opponents of the legislation are “fed up with the law's simplistic approach to education reform and how it wastes student potential, misallocates teaching resources, shrinks the curriculum, and threatens the future of our democratic republic by undermining public education.”
News of the petition has spread with great enthusiasm among parents and teachers, who often
leave poignant commentary along with their signatures. Writes one teacher, “I am retiring early.
We feel we are fleeing a sinking ship, after giving our entire lives to our students and our
profession. It is a sad way to end a career.” And a parent offers, “I feel like my little boy is being groomed for a life on an assembly line rather than being taught how to think and be creative.”
“When Congress passes No Child Left Unfed, No Child Without Health Care and No Child Left Homeless,” notes Susan Ohanian, one of Roundtable’s founders, “then we can talk seriously about No Child Left Behind.”
The Educator Roundtable petition cites several arguments against NCLB. Chief among them are:
• NCLB misdiagnoses the causes of poor educational development, blaming teachers and
students for problems over which they have no control.
• NCLB uses pseudo-science to justify policies and programs that are damaging public
education—including diverting taxes away from communities into corporate coffers.
• NCLB rates and ranks public schools using procedures that will gradually label them all
“failures” by creating unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress goals, which set schools up to
be “saved” by vouchers, charters, or privatization
Up for reauthorization next year, the legislation had bipartisan support when President Bush
signed it into law in 2002. The Educator Roundtable seeks similar bipartisan support to end the
increasingly controversial act. According to Dr. Philip Kovacs, a lead organizer of this national
effort, “individuals from both political parties were sold a false bill of goods, and it will take individuals from both political parties to stop NCLB from doing any more harm.”
In its place they call for formal state-level dialogues led by working educators, rather than by politicians, ideology-bound"think tanks," or business and industry activists who have little or no direct experience in the field of education.
CONTACT: Dr. Philip Kovacs, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, University
of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville AL 35899, 678-612-9242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reg Weaver and John Wilson
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES