Holding your nose and closing your eyes.
The big votes at the NEA were today. Tomorrow is just an endless stream of New Business Items that are notorious time sucks.
A good amount of RA time today was spent on a proposal on accountability and teacher evaluation. It was a terrible proposal that was a feeble attempt by the NEA to respond to the current wave of reformy legislation.
IEA President Ken Swanson went to the microphone and gave a screeching speech that left delegates in their seats. Apparently he thought the proposal justified his sellout support for Illinois’ SB7, which replaced seniority with RIFs based on student test scores.
The proposal is fantasy in that it calls for something that doesn’t and can’t exist: “Scientific and valid” measures that assess “both students and teacher performance.”
As Matt, who sat next to me in the front row said, “It may as well have included the Easter bunny.”
The proposal was passed overwhelmingly. The first disappointment of the day.
My informal poll of delegates convinces me that most didn’t read it and couldn’t tell you what was in it. I’m not particularly proud of the fact. But it is what it is.
Kudos to the Michigan delegation, which opposed it. And to their representative on the NEA Board of Directors Dan Quinn who spoke passionately in opposition.
As for the Obama vote. Many activists I spoke with were dismayed. The 72% of the delegates that voted support are well short of the 80% that Obama received in 2008. But it is too many.
The difference is that in 2008, the vote of support was given with optimism and enthusiasm. Today’s vote was given with noses held.
I’m not proud of the vote. But it is what it is.
As always, it shows we have work to do.
My colleague Mark writes:
Obama gets our national endorsement with 72% of the vote. Yet our brothers and sisters in Chicago can’t strike without 75% of the vote. And this is the result of not only conservative pacs, but of Obama’s buddies Arne and Rahm and the sellout negotiations of the IEA and AFT.
The arbitrary nature of the ed/politics should at least give DVR pause. Why it doesn’t enrage more than 28% of the NEA is a mystery to me.
Me too, Mark. Me too.