Van Roekel’s date with Kopp and Duncan not going over too well.

Matt Damon is a friend of education, but no friend of Wendy Kopp.

When the 10,000 delegates to last summer’s NEA RA passed a critical New Business Item about Teach For America and another one sharply critical of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, few of us thought that meant for IEA President Dennis Van Roekel to arrange a lunch date with both.

I guess he did.

And it’s not going so well for Dennis.

Valerie Strauss’s column in the Washington Post addresses the backlash to a USA Today column jointly written by DVR and Kopp and a follow up joint appearance with Arne.

There is a growing backlash against National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel’s recent collaborations with Teach for America leader Wendy Kopp on the issue of teacher preparation.

Some NEA members have written on blogs that they are furious at Van Roekel, and early childhood expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige just declined an opportunity for her and her son, actor and activist Matt Damon, to be nominated for the Friend of Education Award from the NEA.

Some might say that DVR’s meet up with Duncan and Kopp went worse. The three appeared together at a meeting on teacher training (something Kopp’s TFA pays scant attention to). Duncan then spent most of the time gushing over Wendy, claiming nobody has done more to get great teachers into classrooms than she has. 

Nice, Arne.

But DVR acts like someone in an abusive relationship who refuses help. He’ll probably go back for more.

And as for the delegate votes at the NEA RA? Well, that was so six months ago.

5 Replies to “Van Roekel’s date with Kopp and Duncan not going over too well.”

  1. As I’d said before, Wisconsin has their recall Scott Walker going on. How about the NEA membership do a recall movement for DVR? (&–the sooner the better.)

  2. Should we also forget that Dennis was elected with over 90% of the vote? I realize, Fred, that you always believe that you have the right answer. I’ve heard you grumble from the floor of the RA. Sometimes, however, you need to be a little more trusting of the leadership. If Dennis had lunch with these people, then there must have been a pretty good reason. You comment on what you’ve heard or think you’ve heard about this lunch meeting. The problem is, you weren’t there. Dennis may have spent the entire lunch communicating the concerns of NEA members to these people. Did you consider that? Nope. Probably not. That doesn’t make good fodder for brainless bitching. Another thing to consider is that Dennis, unlike some of the other members of our organization, may feel that establishing a positive relationship with TFA might be more beneficial to addressing our concerns in the long run than to publicly snub and other wise denounce TFA. Maybe Dennis is trying to bridge some gaps and build an alliance around those issues in education that are being attacked in our country today. Maybe, Fred..just maybe…Dennis knows better than you.

  3. Terry. It wasn’t the spinach salad at lunch I objected to. DVR and Kopp issued a joint statement. RA members, me included, did more than grumble. We passed a resolution opposing TFA. I get it that you and Dennis think you know better than the membership. But we have that pesky little think called democracy.

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