"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The NEA, Arne Duncan, and Students Caught in the Middle of the Education Wars

I wanted to draw attention to an excellent post by Culture Vigilante regarding "Educated Citizenry 2020". This post does an excellent job detailing the NEA's involvement in promoting early childhood education.

I was particularly interested in the reporting on the NEA's position on charter schools. The NEA has detailed their "acceptable" charter and non-traditional public schools which they approve. Why should a teacher's union dictate to a govermental agency...or a state educational department or local school district...on what type of educational model it would "accept"? Just typing that sentence makes me think..."what"? Why are we, the taxpayers and legislators, allowing the union to tell us what THEY will accept to teach our children, and that THEY will have to power to review any systems outside of the traditional educational model? Does anyone else this is ludicrous?

I don't know how much of the NEA's recommendations to take to heart. This link was passed on to me by a watchdog about Arne Duncan's idea of charter schools. It doesn't seem as if he is too impressed with the NEA's resolutions. He insists that states must expand the number of charter schools to receive RTTT funding. It doesn't seem as if he is asking the NEA for permission to make that edict.

I have one particular observation on the NEA's position that I wanted to highlight. Look at the NEA's resolution "b" listed in the Culture Vigilante's article. The union asserts:

"Charter school programs must be qualitatively different from what is available in mainstream public schools and not just an avenue for parental choice".

That's an interesting sentence. The parental trigger option is supposedly for parents to use because they believe their public schools are failing. They want a school that will offer their children a true alternative. That's the original intention for charter school operations.

Arne Duncan loves charter schools....but what most people and legislators don't understand is the common core standards and Race to the Top mandate the same curriculum. Charter schools programs cannot be qualitiatively different from public school mandates...they are the same. This has been mandated by Race to the Top and common core standards.

We have a standoff then, between the unions wanting to keep their power and Arne Duncan who wants to expand taxpayer monetary disbursement to hedgefunds and investors.

When can children be excused from the crossfire of adults who just want power and/or financial gain?

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