October 29, 2012

The conundrum (and hypocrisy) and education liberals

The ('unbiased" according to Mike Matthews) National Education Association has endorsed Barack Obama for president to no one's surprise. However, with the debacle that is Race to the Top, it almost defies reason that such an endorsement was given. Many have dubbed RTTT as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Yet, as anyone who received the NEA's monthly, NEA Today, during the eight years of the Bush administration, NCLB was regularly pilloried -- lambasted by magazine and letter writers alike. So, if RTTT is NCLB (see all the silly little acronyms us educators have to deal with?) on steroids, why is the NEA so in love with Obama?

I know, I know, it's ultimately a silly question. It's ultimately about unions, after all. Nevertheless, the vitriol with which Bush's NCLB was met by NEAers is now making these same folk out to be ridiculous hypocrites. And no more so than in the First State, Delaware. Governor Jack Markell is running TV ads touting Race to the Top, knowing full well it has been a clusterf*** of unimaginable proportions to the state's teachers. (Check out what Matthews thinks of it.) If you don't believe this right-leaning person, then merely venture over to the aforementioned Mike Matthews' blog, or that of John Young, a Delaware school district school board member. The so-called "Component 5" of the state's teacher evaluations is a sad joke: hastily assembled and rolled out by the bloated bureaucracy that is the state Dept. of Education (and the dept. is even more bloated since RTTT funds came rolling in), teachers having no idea what to do or what's expected of them, and possibly worse -- administrators not knowing what to do or what's expected of them.

Again, don't believe me? Ask virtually any state teacher or administrator. It's very simple.

Moreover, Gov. Markell has also vigorously touted his financial incentives to teachers who "raise test scores" (with the help of state news monopoly News Journal), granting up to $10K in bonuses. What's not mentioned, of course, is that "only six of the original 30 schools chosen to participate actually accepted the offer."

So, again, why are Markell and Obama so supported by the NEA? The programs they tout are traditionally loathed by teachers (and their unions), especially the so-called "pay for performance" rewards. George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind was chided constantly by liberals as an "unfunded mandate" and not having realistic [mandated] goals. It was chided by conservatives as an unnecessary federal venture into what is supposed to be a state/local matter. I agree with both of these complaints; in addition, I believe it was a brutally political move by Bush to co-opt a traditionally Democrat issue. (The one plus about NCLB, in my opinion, was that it did focus in on raising the achievement of traditionally lower socio-economic status groups, and special needs children. How it measured these groups [and others] was the problem, though.)

Consider this when you wonder how Delaware's teachers union agreed to all the RTTT stuff a few years back: the former president of the Delaware branch of the NEA -- Diane Donohue -- was hired in 2011 by the state Dept. of Education to "oversee teacher evaluation changes." Yep. Which led to the way-too obvious:

House Minority Leader Greg Lavelle said in a statement that the hiring would create "an unfortunate public perception" that it was "more about political payback than educational excellence."

Needless to say, First State edu-blogger Kilroy wasn't too happy about this job offer, either.

So, as the First State continues under one party (Democrat) rule, it seems its union will merely continue its usual Democrat-backing ways, with the Markell administration continuing its phony political ads touting the charlantry that is its "winning" Race to the Top application, and the financial incentive program for teachers that only 20% of the chosen schools agreed to be part of.


Posted by Felix at October 29, 2012 10:51 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Felix, you can't get an overview of the RTTT, NEA endorsement, Charlantry that is education at the state and federal level any better than what you have posted......the only problem is how sad the reality of education that is controlled by state/federal gov't agencies has become...its not about the kids, its about the bloated, pat themselves on the back beauracrats (sp).

Posted by: cardinals fan at October 30, 2012 10:03 AM