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NCLB Outrages

Asking the NEA to Set a Worthy Example

by Don Perl

Yesterday the mailcarrier brought my copy of NEA Today. The feature article deals with the difficulties of retaining teachers. Here is the caption: WHY THEY LEAVE (Shouldn't it read, "Why WE Leave?") "Sometimes today's schools feel more like a Dilbert cartoon than places of learning. But educators aren't laughing. Lack of funding, disrespect and NCLB are driving many to leave the profession. What can we do to get them (us) to stay."

I wrote a response to this piece which essentially says, "We have met the enemy and they are us." (Not exactly grammatically correct, but you get the message.) Here's what I wrote:

Dear Colleagues:

In your April 2008 edition you feature an article titled, "Teacher Retention," or perhaps even more appropriately labeled, "teacher flight." You create the image that NEA is on the front lines to change the present legislation. You write, "NEA continues to aggressively lobby Congress for fundamental changes to the law, spreading the word through the media and coalition partnerships, all the while continuing to get feedback from state and local leaders on what the federal role in education should be..."

I pose three questions for you. Where did the NEA stand with regard to the petition to eliminate high stakes standardized testing in Colorado in 2004? And where did the NEA stand when recently presented with the opportunity to endorse the petition to eliminate NCLB? Look to yourselves, colleagues, to see that your cowardly approach to the unconstitutional governmental regimens of the day is in large part responsible for "teacher flight."

The NEA could do so much to reverse these draconian trends. Instead of merely creating the appearance of advocating for the profession, our Coalition for Better Education, Inc. implores you to make the stand that will truly move the wheel of history forward. Such a stance will take great courage, yes. All of which leads now to the third, and truly high stakes, question. Do you have the courage to speak out for our children and our profession's best interests, to set a worthy educational example for our younger generation, or will you continue to succumb to the avaricious forces at work destroying our public education system?

Don Perl
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.

If you would like to write the e-mail address is neatoday@nea.org.

— Don Perl


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