The Educator Roundtable announced yesterday a new partnership with the Oakland Education Association [OEA]. The move marks a historic break from CTA and NEA leadership and may be the beginning of a much larger, national rift in the nation’s largest teacher’s union. Over 28,000 parents, teachers, students and community members nationwide have quickly signed on to the Roundtable.
NEA leadership seeks to modify NCLB, but in Oakland modifications are not enough. NCLB has forced 31 of Oakland’s public schools into restructuring as charter schools.
Oakland is not alone. In California 700 schools face restructuring this year. What OEA wants to know is “where is CTA and NEA leadership?”
“People in Oakland see this as a takeover….Schools that were anchors in their neighborhoods are shutting down, increasing the instability in those neighborhoods,” explains OEA executive board member Jack Gerson.
There is no evidence supporting the claim that “charter schools” educate any better than public schools, nor is there any research supporting NCLB’s requirement that schools use supplemental educational services. There is plenty of evidence showing that NCLB has forced thousands of school districts across the country to outsource public education.
Oakland is the first local teacher’s union to reject NEA leadership and to publicly endorse the Educator Roundtable’s position. The Educator Roundtable seeks to replace NCLB with more democratic models of educational reform.
Here's all we need to do, according to Sen. Kennedy, to polish up the NCLB diamond:
- "strengthen our academic standards and assessment methods to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills necessary for today's knowledge-based global economy"
- "improve accountability by helping states modernize their curriculums from prekindergarten through high school so that all students graduate with the education they need to pursue a college or technical degree, participate in the workforce or serve in the armed forces"
- "help states develop better assessments to track the progress and growth of all students, including students for whom English is a second language and students with special needs"
- "We must expand and fortify the teacher workforce...to reach that goal, a greater federal investment is needed"
- "Finally, we can't just label schools inadequate. We must help them improve"
Well, hell, if that's all that's wrong; I mean if the only "flaws" in the law are that it hasn't really closed the achievement gap, that it just labels schools as "inadequate" and doesn't really help them improve; if it's just immigrant kids and special-need kids who aren't dealt with fairly; if we're just talking poor accountability, outdated curriculum, lack of adequate resources and few provisions for improving teaching and learning, then what's all the fuss about? Tweak it and pass it. More