While most of us were eating burgers, watching fireworks and, I hope, engaging in a bit of patriotic reading
as well, the National Education Association was convening in New Orleans for its annual meeting. And, as the New York Times reports
, the nation's largest teachers union is not happy with President Obama. No. Not happy at all.
The largest union’s meeting opened here on Saturday to a drumbeat of heated rhetoric, with several speakers calling for Mr. Duncan’s resignation, hooting delegates voting for a resolution criticizing federal programs for “undermining public education,” and the union’s president summing up 18 months of Obama education policies by saying, “This is not the change I hoped for.”
“Today our members face the most anti-educator, anti-union, anti-student environment I have ever experienced,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the union, the National Education Association, told thousands of members gathered at the convention center here.
"Anti-student"? That's rich
. Anyway, at issue, at least in part, is the administration's $4.35 billion Race to the Top program. The NEA on Sunday passed a "vote of no confidence" in Race to the Top, which despite the stakeholder buy-in requirement
and a highly prescriptive, top-down formula
, isn't deferential enough to union power. As Phil Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the no-confidence resolution's sponsor, put it
: "Just being at the table doesn't get you anything." (Remember that when the next contract comes around.)
Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency is in New Orleans this week, covering the NEA as he does this time every year. You can read Mike's reports at his excellent Intercepts blog.