When Diane Ravtich blogged the other day about Hillary Clinton speaking today at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly, she suggested that the maybe-almost-presumptive Democratic nominee answer some educational policy questions that have been absent from the primary campaign.
Will the NEA get a pledge from Hillary not to support non-union charters? Will Hillary agree to cut off federal funding of predatory for-profit charters? Will Lily get Hillary to speak out against misuse of testing? Will Hillary lay out a new vision for the federal role in education?
I responded that Clinton would say what she needed to say or say nothing at all.
Asking them now seemed to be trying to place a bet after the horses had left the gate.
Hillary did not surprise me with her speech this morning. She said everything a Democratic Party candidate needs to say to the mostly Democratic delegates to the largest of the two national teacher unions.
And she said nothing much at all.
She made some dainty criticisms of testing. None that President Obama hasn’t made over the past nearly 8 years of testing foolishness.
“Tests should go back to their original purpose: giving useful information to teachers so that you know and parents know how our kids and our schools are doing, and then we can come together to help them improve.”
Well, yes. Sure. But given that many states, including Illinois, now must use student test measures to evaluate teachers, she gave no clue as to how we will get back to what she claims is the original purpose.
She spoke a mixed message about charter schools. They were only mentioned by her once and hedged her bets in criticizing them.
But mostly it was the lightly-seared red meat offered up to a room of 8,000 educators with noisy thunder sticks.
She promised, as every politician speaking to teachers always does, that we will have a seat at the table.
That seems to be enough for a continued NEA endorsement particularly against an educational cretin like Trump.
NEA RA delegates tend to be Democratic voters. It is estimated that a third of NEA members in Illinois are Republicans.