If you’re going to argue stuff around here, you have to be a little honest about what you say.
And the organizers of the Challenge to Dennis Van Roekel and the NEA, a group called United Opt Out National, have not met even that minimum requirement.
On the eve of leaving for the National Education Association’s national meeting, I received their unsolicited call. As a thirty year member of the NEA and a life-time union member, I was not pleased with their threats.
The NEA’s eventual eradication as a legitimate organization in support of public education will be met with a bittersweet jubilation. Make no mistake: we do not negotiate with children’s lives.
I thought this was crazy talk. I still do.
At a time when public service worker unions are under assault by Republicans and Democrats, here was a group, claiming to support public schools and opposed to standardized testing making threats. Against who? The DOE policy makers? The corporate reformers? Pearson? Obama? Romney? Duncan? Rhee? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
The teachers union.
And not even just the union leadership. Many of the comments from the Opt Out supporters following my original post directed their main fire at teachers for failing to rise up against the leadership. One comment even accused teachers of being child abusers because we give tests.
Of the dozen or so readers who attacked me for rejecting this so-called challenge, some of the Opters were clearly new to this blog.
Some have known me for many years.
It is simply dishonest for someone like Susan Ohanian to lecture me about the failings of union leadership when she knows that I have battled the union leadership over these issues for many decades.
When I stand at the microphone at state and union meetings, challenging the leadership on issues like Senate Bill 7 here in Illinois, a bill supported by the IEA and which takes away teacher tenure, seniority, undermined Chicago teachers’ right to strike and tied teacher evaluations to students test scores, nobody from Opt Out was standing there with us. No Susan Ohanian.
There were only union members from my Region.
Other Opters, who may not have read this blog before: It is intellectually lazy to make assumptions about this blog and this blogger when all you had to do is to scroll down a few posts to know the nature of this blog, what it supports and what is opposes.
Or the Opter who wrote a comment about the cowardice of teachers and then signed their comment, “anonymous.”
Perhaps embarrassed by their anti-unionism after first threatening jubilant eradication of our union, the Opters soon tried to change the subject to whether rank-and-file union members should struggle against unresponsive or corrupt leadership. A bogus non-argument, since this blog has always loudly advocated for that and many of us have been at it for years from the inside, not the sidelines.
I support the FairTest statement, also supported by the NEA, on the dangers of standardized testing.
If there are delegates who feel this is not strong enough and want to present another document, bring it up.
But if the Opters have another agenda, and have joined with the long list of groups who want to see the teacher union movement destroyed, or try to threaten teachers because they may not agree with you on the wording of one resolution over another?
Walk on by.