Monday, July 03, 2006

Dog Bites Man--NEA To Challenge "No Child Left Behind" Law

What a shocker. They don't like NCLB. I'll bet they also say that class sizes are too large and pay is too low.

The plan approved Monday calls for increases in the $23.5 billion budget currently authorized by Congress and a decrease in the number of students in each classroom. The union also is calling for a national minimum wage of $40,000 a year for teachers.

What a shock! Can I call 'em, or what?!

I actually found the information at the end of the article to be the most interesting because it might mean that the NEA actually told the truth about something:

Packer said Monday's vote reflects a recent NEA member attitude survey of 1,000 NEA members, which found a majority dislikes the No Child Left Behind Act but would rather modify it than repeal it.

About 30 percent of NEA members approve of the law, the survey found.

If I were an NEA member, I'd be part of that 30%. But I'm not, so I'm not.

I find it interesting that the NEA, however slowly, might start playing ball here with the Republicans.

"We're moving from just being critics to saying this is our own vision," Packer said. "It is very powerful because it's the voices of classroom teachers."

In an hourlong discussion, only three of the 9,000 members of the union's Representative Assembly argued against the lobbying effort. They said the law was too flawed to fix and wanted the union to focus on repealing it.

A significant number of delegates shouted "No" during the vote, but not enough to swing the outcome.

Might the union higher-ups have finally realized that they've effectively shut themselves out of the decision-making process for the last 5 1/2 years, and that maybe they should try a different technique besides "complain, degrade, and attack" if they want to be taken seriously at all? Naw, that's too much to hope for. That would probably be reading too much into this one particular event.

Update, 6:15 pm: The Education Intelligence Agency provides this commentary straight from the convention:

It's difficult to take seriously all the NCLB horror stories about soul-deadening curriculum, skyrocketing school budget deficits, employees thrown out into the streets, and intimidated and frightened students, when not a single state has turned down the money appropriated by Congress to implement it. Reject the money, avoid NCLB mandates.

When the education establishment truly embraces the Tenth Amendment (item #6), we'll all be better off. Don't take the handout and then complain when you're asked to chop wood.


Anonymous said...

Darren -- I thought I would copy item 6 for your readers to see --

6) Education Establishment Discovers Tenth Amendment. Reporting from the floor of the NEA convention on July 3, 2003, EIA stated, “The fact is, NCLB is a federal power grab. But it’s the first federal power grab NEA has ever found reason to oppose.” Union officials are not alone in decrying the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. They have been joined by a number of administrators, legislators and governors.

Those of us who are of the libertarian persuasion quietly note that the federal government has no constitutional authority over public education policy. Therefore, Washington has to buy its authority – in the case of NCLB – with Title I money. If states want the money, they have to accept the mandates. So we are confused by those NCLB opponents who claim the federal law is costing them money. They say the cost of the mandates exceeds the funding.

The unions’ default reaction to such a condition is to demand more funding. But more and more districts and states are considering the alternative: reject the mandates and turn down the funding. Federal money usually trumps the principle of local control in most aspects of government policy. But if NCLB truly costs more than it provides, why participate?

It’s only fitting in a year when an Austrian bodybuilder becomes governor of California that an expansion of federal power by a conservative Republican administration would lead to an embrace of states’ rights by liberal Democrats.


EllenK said...

I don't know how closely you want to follow the whole states' rights scenario. As I recall, that was the excuse for what in some circles is called The Civil War.

Darren said...

The party out of power often lifts the "states' rights" banner.