Q: How does it feel to be back home in Chicago.
A: Sweet. Hot. But sweet.
Q: You missed Obama’s phone call to the RA from Ohio?
A: Yes I did. But it doesn’t sound like I missed much. It wasn’t much more than the usual, “We thank you for all you do,” stuff. The Obama campaign won’t address anything of substance because they know their current policies run counter to what most public school teachers believe and want to hear from a self-described education president.
Q: What happened with the NBI supporting the SOS conference in Washington that is planned for August?
A: It got voted down.
Jane Watson, an SOS supporter and delegate from Washington state offered a very simple NBI that didn’t ask for much more than an endorsement of the conference and putting a link to SOS on the NEA website. It seemed very non-controversial.
Q: Do you think most delegates in the hall know much about SOS?
A: No. And that was a source of some of the problems.
Somebody, I don’t know who, offered an amendment to send the issue of working with SOS to the Executive Committee. I thought this was probably a good idea since the NEA had supported the SOS march in Washington and had a relationship with the organizers. But that was rejected by the delegates for reasons that had nothing to do with the issue of SOS itself and had more to do with RA rules.
Suddenly a group of delegates from Florida – I don’t know who they are – went to the mic and started blasting SOS. They claimed it was a Michelle Rhee front group. One claimed that the organization had “withered” since the Washington march and that Diane Ravitch has quit.
Ravitch, by the way, later issued a statement saying that reports of her departure from SOS were untrue.
Before anyone could get to a mic to rebut the lies coming from Florida, the question was called and the NBI was voted down. I really think that for most delegates, they didn’t know what this was about and just wanted to get away from it.
Q: Who were these people from Florida? What are they up to? Who was behind it?
A: I have no idea.
But I bet we will find out. And they will have some explaining to do.
Q: Some bloggers seem to be blaming the NEA leadership for allowing this to happen.
A: I don’t know what Dennis could have done. He can’t take part in the debate even if he was aware of what was going on.
Q: Let’s move on.
A: Okay. Well I just got a text that the delegates voted to pass NBI 82.
Q: What’s that?
A: It calls on the NEA to collect data and quantify the time lost to standardized testing. The intent of the makers of the NBI 82 is to collect data that demonstrates how the emphasis on standardized testing has real costs for student learning, teacher preparation, the arts and student engagement.
Activists have been looking for ways to get beyond just a general condemnation of standardized testing. The adoption of this NBI moves the NEA in that direction.
Q: And NBI 85? The Opt Out one by the goofs who threatened to jubilantly eradicate the NEA if it failed.?
A: It failed. So now the NEA must jubilantly be eradicated.