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July 19, 2008 pm31 7:09 pm
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It seems that my union (UFT and AFT) have added their voices. I have two reactions – 1. What took them so long? – and 2. I’m really happy they finally got here.

I read it first at Schools Matter, but I thought he might have taken a comment out of context. Then I found outgoing AFT President Ed McElroy’s farewell address, including these remarks:

We also need to recognize when change isn’t working. When the NCLB was introduced, the AFT was cautious but kept an open mind. NCLB is, after all, the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has nine titles and countless provisions on which our members and their students depend. Although we were able to prevent several poison pills from being included in the law – NCLB was flawed from the start. Fully funding NCLB won’t fix it. Tinkering around the edges isn’t the answer. We will work with the next president and the new Congress to create a new law – a law that respects the knowledge of classroom professionals and helps teachers and paraprofessionals provide our students with the high-quality education they deserve. (full text)

(continued beneath the fold — > )And then the official summary of Randi Weingarten’s first address as AFT President includes:

“Weingarten also argued that the No Child Left Behind Act is, in fact, leaving behind the very children it was intended to help, and has outlived its usefulness.”

“These are the children who have the least opportunity outside the schoolhouse walls to be exposed to all the elements of a well-rounded education: the arts and physical fitness, the ability to think critically and to argue logically, the value of active citizenship, and a knowledge of different people and places. NCLB slams the schoolhouse door on what makes up modern civilization and replaces it with multiple choice questions,” she said.

Pretty clear. I’d like to see the policy statement, but I have to believe it is on its way.

— — —

I’ve written about NCLB and the need to dump it before.

For the ‘old’ UFT position try this column by Randi from October 2007 or this discussion with Maisie on Edwize (skip the post, read the comments) from September 2007.

— — —

There won’t be a good answer for “what took so long.” The official summary of Weingarten’s speech uses the phrase “outlived its usefulness” – the speech itself outlines good intentions that have been stymied. (worth a read, too long for me to reproduce today, NCLB stuff starts bottom of page 5). But in the end, it matters little why they finally changed their minds.

It is great news that the AFT and UFT are for dumping NCLB. Here’s an issue that gets teachers and parents and even some students charged up, that drives administrators nuts. NCLB tests students relentlessly, punishes schools, but does nothing to improve education. Now our union can step forward and take the lead.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    July 19, 2008 pm31 8:37 pm 8:37 pm

    I didn’t get the “outlived its usefulness phrase” in Weingarten’s speech either… I would think “whatever usefulness it might have had was destroyed by its ideologically-driven implementation” would be closer to the mark.

  2. July 20, 2008 am31 4:36 am 4:36 am

    I think the summary may have highlighted the wrong passage. In any case, they won’t admit error, but for today that really makes no difference. The correction is welcome, even if they don’t call it such.

    In the meantime, when does reauthorization come back up?

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