Friday, July 20, 2007

Teachers pay high price for opposition to NCLB

The new superintendent of Hartford has correctly called the NCLB the greatest piece of civil rights legislation in decades.  This article is a brilliant defense of it...

We’re talking about one of the most important  educational reforms of the last 50 years — and one that is quite modest. One  of the law’s central goals is that all children be reading and doing math at  grade-level — by 2014.

Why, have you ever heard of such a thing? A lot of  teachers oppose that requirement as too stringent and too unrealistic.  Wouldn’t you like to know if your child’s teacher is among those who want to  keep the bar low and who apparently don’t see a problem with children  performing below grade-level?

NCLB also lifts the curtain on which kids are learning  and which aren’t by calling for testing in the third through eighth grades and  once in high school, and requiring districts to group students’ test scores by  race and ethnicity.

For the most part, teachers hate the emphasis on  testing. At their convention, some wore buttons and stickers proclaiming: “A  child is more than a test score.” And they really hate having to advertise to  the world what sort of job they’re doing in teaching students of certain  racial and ethnic backgrounds.

This suggests that teachers know more than they’re  letting on about which students they’re serving and which they’re sacrificing.  The law shares the information with the rest of us...

Say, if the teachers are looking for slogans, how  about this one: “A child is more than a paycheck.”

...and a great skewering of how lame the Democratic presidential contenders were on it...and why:

 So you might think that the Democrats running for  president, who rarely miss an ethnic celebration and who claim to have the  best interests of African-Americans and Latinos at heart, would rush to defend  No Child Left Behind — especially since the candidates who were in Congress in  2001 voted for the legislation.

You know better. The only thing close to the heart of  politicians is cold cash, and those with the cash — i.e., unions such as the  NEA — want this law tossed into the dustbin. NCLB comes up for reauthorization  in Congress later this year and the campaign to kill it is well under way.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the  NEA gave more than $1.9 million to candidates in the 2006 federal elections.  Another union, the American Federation of Teachers, gave more than $2.1  million. And, if the pattern of contributions during over the last three  decades is any indication, the lion’s share of that money went to Democrats  over Republicans by a margin of 9-1.

And that’s just the latest installment. According to  the National Taxpayers Union, from September 2004 through August 2005, the NEA  spent $25 million on political activities and lobbying, and an additional  $65.5 million on contributions, gifts and grants.

And what do the teachers unions get in return? You  name it. They call the tune, and the Democrats dance to it.

Teachers pay high price for opposition to NCLB
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

July 11, 2007

SAN DIEGO — It’s no surprise to see presidential candidates pandering to contributors. But what is disappointing is how far some of them will go to take care of those who take care of them.

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