The National Education Association can’t dictate to Barack Obama, writes Richard Whitmire on Politico. The presumptive Democratic nominee skipped the NEA convention to visit Montana; when he spoke via satellite, he endorsed charter schools and performance pay. “The first drew cold silence; the latter, lusty boos,” writes Whitmire.
Times change. First, the NEA declined to endorse during the primary, and Obama won without it. More importantly, Obama and his advisers may be concluding that the leftward drift of the NEA has pushed it closer to political irrelevancy. Giving the cold shoulder to charter schools? Even four years ago you could get away with that, but high-performing charter schools in cities such as New York are giving meaning to the words â€œequal opportunityâ€ for poor and minority students.
And the lusty boos for performance pay? American parents are willing to pay far more for a quality education, but only if that education comes with high-quality math and science teachers attracted and retained by free market salaries.
The NEA is determined to destroy the accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind. Wrong side of history, says Whitmire.
Obama gave the NEA the “velvet snub,” writes Joe Williams.