This past Monday, as the nation celebrated its
235th birthday, the National Education Association tallied another milestone—well,
mile-pebble: It inched toward accepting student achievement as a legitimate
marker of teacher performance. Yet, in its newly crafted policy statement, convention
delegates added the caveats that all tests must be “developmentally
appropriate” and “scientifically valid”—and that no test in place today meets
this threshold. Some union watchers—like the Kremlin-watchers of old—detect
an important shift. But don’t go gaga: The organization’s
secretary-treasurer proclaimed that “NEA is and always will be opposed to
high-stakes, test-driven evaluations.” Nor is the new policy statement binding
on the union’s state and local affiliates. Some of these, notably Michigan,
have already made clear that they want nothing to do with it. Fellow gadfly
Mike Antonucci put
it best: “You can add this to the list of things that NEA supports, but
doesn’t really believe exist—like good charter schools, Republicans who
support public education, and workers who freely choose not to join a union.”
|Click to listen to commentary on the NEA's policy statement from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
Passes Teacher-Evaluation Policy, With a Catch-22 on Test Scores,” by Stephen
Sawchuck, Education Week, July 4, 2011.
and False on NEA’s New Evaluation Policy,” by Stephen Sawchuck, Education Week, July 5, 2011.
Position on Teacher Evaluations,” by Sharon Otterman, New York Times, July 4, 2011.