A new business item showed up this morning at the National Educators Association’s annual representative assembly, held in Washington D.C. This one is very interesting. It concerns an alleged partnership NEA has with Relay Graduate School of Education. They are both involved in the corporate education reformer led “Teach Strong” initiative. But a partnership bears further investigation. In an article calling out both NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, both NEA leader Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT leader Randy Weingarten were raked over the coals for their affiliation with these groups and companies.
This action item calls for an explanation from Eskelsen-Garcia on why she is partnering with an organization that is the anti-thesis of NEA. Programs like Relay and Teach For America diminish the role of teachers in public education and cause a wide-spread path of destruction along the way. Their teachers, no matter what their intentions are, do not receive the same training regular teachers do, and get rammed into a crash-course on teaching. Many of them frequently do not stay in the profession. Some become administrators, leap-frogging past certified teachers, or get jobs with ed reform companies or state DOEs. If NEA is partnering with an organization like Relay, their members definitely need an explanation from Eskelsen-Garcia.
I called her out last year over NEA’s rushed endorsement of the Every Student Succeeds Act. As well, they were a very early endorser for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential candidacy. Even though they are making it an official vote at this rep assembly to endorse her, it is something leadership did almost a year ago already. Right now, Hillary is speaking to the assembled NEA members at their assembly. In a picture taken before she arrived on the stage, teachers are seen waving and clapping as if Hillary is the second coming. Someone made a comment of “Stepford Teachers”… a comment I am inclined to agree with. I am no fan of Hillary, or Trump for that matter. These are dark times…
As the saying goes, while you may want a seat at the table, you also need to recognize when you are on the table. NEA members need to be extra vigilant these days. It’s not just a matter of trust, it is also a matter of survival in an increasingly hostile environment for public school teachers. When dealing with these corporate education reform companies, collaboration is the same thing as alliance. In Delaware, we have this ridiculous thing called “The Delaware Way” where parties comes to the table and compromise. It is ridiculous and absurd and allows very bad entities into things they have no business being in. NEA seems to have taken up this mantra as well. Time to call out the leadership folks!