By a slim margin, National Education Association delegates voted “no confidence” in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top, reports Stephen Sawchuk in Ed Week’s Teacher Beat. Delegates also opposed using competitive grants in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).
It was a symbolic slam on the Obama administration. But as with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s keynote speech, it stopped short of actually calling out the U.S. president, a supporter of the program. And the debate over the item provided the clearest picture yet of both the internal and external difficulties the NEA faces pushing against an education agenda promoted by a Democratic administration, rather than a Republican one.
The union isn’t willing to say that it opposes the education policies of President Barack Obama, Sawchuk notes.
For the NEA, Barack Obama is quickly becoming the equivalent of Voldemort: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
While some state and local affiliates have signed on to Race to the Top, opponents are very angry. One “no confidence” backer said: “The Race to the Top is a gun with bullets in it to take out teachers, public education, and the union itself.”