NEA’s Independent Teaching Commission Not So Independent

posted at 2:15 pm on December 15, 2010 by Mike Antonucci

At the union’s convention last July in New Orleans, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel announced the creation of a Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, which would study teacher effectiveness and report its findings to the delegates of the 2011 convention.

“Let’s demand to be the ones in charge,” Van Roekel said, adding, “Imagine going beyond ‘being at the table’ to running the meeting.”

He asked, rhetorically, “What would the profession look like if we – the union of practitioners – actually controlled teacher training, induction and licensure, evaluation and professional development?”

Today, NEA announced the 21 members of that commission, and while the press release described them as “diverse” and “independent,” they seem committed to Van Roekel’s goals – union control of teacher training, induction, licensure, evaluation and professional development.

Many of the commission members are former teachers of the year, or have received public recognition as quality educators. There is no reason to doubt their abilities as teachers. However, there is good reason to believe they were also chosen for their ideological reliability and their strong philosophical ties to the union’s agenda.

* Andy Coons, described as “a middle school math teacher from Tacoma, Wash.” is also president of the Tacoma Education Association and the Tacoma UniServ Council.

* Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh is properly identified as president of the Utah Education Association.

* Robert Goodman is described as “a math and science teacher from Trenton, N.J.” He is also the director of the New Jersey Center for Teaching & Learning, which the New Jersey Education Association describes as “an independent board made up of leaders in education, business and philanthropy” – even though a majority of that board consists of NJEA executive officers.

* Mary Hatwood-Futrell is described as “a professor of education from Washington, D.C.” She is also a former president of NEA.

* Shelly Moore is described as “a high school English and drama teacher from Ellsworth, Wisc.” She also sits on the NEA board of directors.

* Lori Nazareno is described as “a science teacher from Denver, Colo.” She is also the lead teacher at the Math and Science Leadership Academy, a school created by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

* Kathleen Skinner is described as “director of the Center of Education Policy and Practice from Boston, Mass.” They neglect to mention it is the Center for Education Policy and Practice of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Don’t expect Skinner to rock the union boat:

“Far too many charter schools have established enrollment and exclusion practices that have winnowed out students with greater needs,” said Kathleen Skinner, director of the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s Center for Education Policy and Practice. Skinner authored the report, Charter School Success or Selective Out-Migration of Low-Achievers? “By law, public schools are supposed to serve all students in the Commonwealth. In practice, charter schools do not fulfill that mission. We need to face this reality as the Legislature and the public begin debating whether to increase the number of charter schools in this state.”

* Peggy Stewart is described as “a high school social studies teacher from Vernon, N.J.” She also sits on the board of NJEA’s Center for Teaching & Learning.

* Kathleen Wiebke is described as “executive director of Arizona K12 from Phoenix, Ariz.” In her spare time, she raises campaign funds for Penny Kotterman, the former president of the Arizona Education Association who ran unsuccessfully for the position of Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Other members of the commission may or may not hold union office or union-affiliated positions, but their viewpoints (Mary K. Tedrow, William Thomas, Andy Tompkins) are clearly aligned with those of NEA.

I hope the panelists receive a healthy per diem and nice hotel accommodations when they meet. Their findings, I’m afraid, are a foregone conclusion.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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“What would the profession look like if we – the union of practitioners – actually controlled teacher training, induction and licensure, evaluation and professional development?”

Pretty much the way it looks now. Bloated, incompetent and self serving!

Tommy_G on December 15, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Little communists

darwin on December 15, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Little communists that teach your children 8 hours or so a day.

WitchDoctor on December 15, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Two words …

HOME.

SCHOOL.

Tony737 on December 15, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Little communists

darwin on December 15, 2010 at 2:18 PM

. . . figuring out ways to indoctrinate teachers who can then indoctrinate students.

rbj on December 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM

You know what teachers’ need, better pay and benefits!

WashJeff on December 15, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Two words …
HOME.
SCHOOL.

Tony737

How much you want to bet outlawing home schooling is one of their recommendations?

Socratease on December 15, 2010 at 2:23 PM

How much you want to bet outlawing home schooling is one of their recommendations?

Socratease on December 15, 2010 at 2:23 PM

and Charter schools. They hate charter schools.

darwin on December 15, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Another swamp that should be drained.

tommer74 on December 15, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Socratease, it wouldn’t shock me.

Hey, anybody see the the video of a highschool b-ball player attack the ref?

Tony737 on December 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM

My daughter spent years and years working towards the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher and for the past three years, working with the little ones (first & third grade) has brought a sense of fulfillment she hadn’t dared to wish for.

The flip side is that after only three years, she is outa there due to the top down nightmare that the school administration/bureaucracy has become.

It is no longer about teaching our children how to function to the best of their indigenous abilities. Nope – it is all about preparing the children to pass the asinine local/state/federal testing regime so as to secure funding. No thought what-so-ever has been put into whether or not this prepares our kids to become anything but drones.

Oh ……… yea ……… and she’s about ready to go postal on the unions.

oldfiveanddimer on December 15, 2010 at 2:32 PM

He asked, rhetorically, “What would the profession look like if we – the union of practitioners – actually controlled teacher training, induction and licensure, evaluation and professional development?”

Has he never ready Orwell’s “1984″?

dominigan on December 15, 2010 at 2:37 PM

oldfiveanddimer on December 15, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Absolutely! My mom was a third grade teacher who finally took early retirement. She loved the kids, and the other teachers, but the administration and rules have gotten insane. After two decades of teaching, she left last year. Sad part is… most of the teachers she left feel exactly the same way!

dominigan on December 15, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Has he never READ Orwell’s “1984″?

dominigan on December 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Btw, we homeschooled 3 of 4 children. Since about 90% of my relatives are teachers, it caused quite the uproar. But now, even they have seen the changes in our kids.

My oldest (public school) used to complain about her brother “laying around and playing video games” until he outscored her his first time taking the ACT (by 6 points!) (She had to take it twice.)

He may have played games in the afternoon, but that was because he worked ahead in his assignments and had everything done by noon.

dominigan on December 15, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Today, NEA announced the 21 members of that commission, and while the press release described them as “diverse” and “independent,” they seem committed to Van Roekel’s goals – union control of teacher training, induction, licensure, evaluation and professional development.

Union control. Operative phrase is “union control.”

That’s what Barack Obama is about, that’s what today’s Democrats are about, that’s what their — excuse me but it’s an accurate identity of who these are — their communist agenda is about: “union control.”

It’s the same thing, the equivalent, of the “Commission” or “Workers Council” or whatever they call it this time around, simply Communism dictating all areas of any individual’s life: “health” care, education, firearms, home ownership or “housing”, food, dress, work, military…

Lourdes on December 15, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Today, NEA announced the 21 members of that commission, and while the press release described them as “diverse” and “independent,” they seem committed to Van Roekel’s goals – union control of teacher training, induction, licensure, evaluation and professional development.

Union control. Operative phrase is “union control.”

That’s what Barack Obama is about, that’s what today’s Democrats are about, that’s what their — excuse me but it’s an accurate identity of who these are — their communist agenda is about: “union control.”

It’s the same thing, the equivalent, of the “Commission” or “Workers Council” or whatever they call it this time around, simply Communism dictating all areas of any individual’s life: “health” care, education, firearms, home ownership or “housing”, food, dress, work, military…

Lourdes on December 15, 2010 at 2:48 PM

“The people’s army…”

Lourdes on December 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Many of the commission members are former teachers of the year, or have received public recognition as quality educators. There is no reason to doubt their abilities as teachers.

Hmm, Teachers of the Year as awarded by what organization?

unclesmrgol on December 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Has he never READ Orwell’s “1984″?

dominigan on December 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Apparently, Orwells’ “1984″ is the Left’s Handbook, as in, their “dream” work toward their ideal.

Lourdes on December 15, 2010 at 2:50 PM

“What would the profession look like if we – the union of practitioners – actually controlled teacher training, induction and licensure, evaluation and professional development?”

Then it would properly be called a guild and not a union. It is far beyond the scope of responsibility a union should enjoy.

JeffWeimer on December 15, 2010 at 2:50 PM

NEA……….POWER hungry Marxists teaching the young in tandem with millions of sleeping parents…….what could go wrong?

PappyD61 on December 15, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Funny, as an NDEA member, no one asked me to play.
I am sure they wouldn’t want me too, either.
Bcs I believe in some kind of merit pay.
Far as my pay & benefits go, i have no problem with what I make.
I only work for the health benefits & the fact that I can have the summers off to work on the ranch.
I do have a problem with a lazy crappy teacher making more or the same as I do, however.
I know a science teacher here in SW ND who gets bonus pay bcs science teachers are very hard to find out here.
It is amazing how many other teachers b!tch how that isn’t fair.
I see no problem with it.
Let’s face it. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
On the other hand, this profession seems to attract a lot of morons.
Truthfully, I can make a lot more $$ in the outside world than I do, but the tradeoffs are worth it for me.
If school were a year round thing, there is no way I would teach.
They couldn’t ever pay me enough to do this the whole year.
And it isn’t so much the kids, it is the other adults-the administration.
I have met some good ones, but I would say the ratio of good competent admins to pieces of trash are like 1 good one for every 4 pieces of trash.
It’s terrible.
And that is probably the main reason that teachers leave the profession.
And another thing is this profession is nothing but focusing on the new worthless fad in education.
Now it is ‘core standards’ which = let’s dumb things down even more so the kid can pass the standardized exam.
The new thing is, as long as the kid can pass the exam, it doesn’t matter what their grade is in class or whether they do any work or not.
If they can pass a test, then they pass the class.
This is some dangerous stuff.
Bcs those tests are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Follow the money on all this testing.

Badger40 on December 15, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Teachers of the Year as awarded by what organization?

unclesmrgol on December 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM

There was a teacher of the year here in ND a couple years back who won, but they didn’t want to present it to her bcs she wasn’t a union member.
I couldn’t believe it.

Badger40 on December 15, 2010 at 3:09 PM

As someone who just has to finish my applied project for my Master’s in Education.

The entire system is corrupt. We need to go back to 100% private system, but since that is politically unfeasable, I’ll accept a 100% Charter school system.

I have never seen so many stupid educators people and they are teaching.

I’ve seen teachers who refused to fail a kid so he could feel good, to teachers who didn’t know basic facts. I knew a math teacher who taught math who couldn’t pass the AEPA and only took the job to keep from being laid off. They didn’t know basic 8th grade math.

Public education is the problem, it’s destruction is the solution.

Tim Burton on December 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Pubic schools. Another central planning scheme which never worked out.

oldleprechaun on December 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Just think how dumb we can make generations of Americans if we taught ‘stupid’ instead of facts. Heck we could even have classes on the global warming hoax.

tarpon on December 15, 2010 at 3:23 PM

This looks like a way to get indoctrinated teachers into private schools. Private school teachers may not be represented by the NEA, but if they’re taught and licensed by the NEA their ideological purity will be just as “good” as public school teachers.

Farmer_Joe on December 15, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I don’t recall even being invited. :)

Bob's Kid on December 15, 2010 at 3:32 PM

Its not their fault that conservatives gave up long ago on academia.

ernesto on December 15, 2010 at 3:36 PM

As someone who just has to finish my applied project for my Master’s in Education.

The entire system is corrupt. We need to go back to 100% private system, but since that is politically unfeasable, I’ll accept a 100% Charter school system.

I have never seen so many stupid educators people and they are teaching.

I’ve seen teachers who refused to fail a kid so he could feel good, to teachers who didn’t know basic facts. I knew a math teacher who taught math who couldn’t pass the AEPA and only took the job to keep from being laid off. They didn’t know basic 8th grade math.

Public education is the problem, it’s destruction is the solution.

Tim Burton on December 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

I totally agree with you.
One thing, however, I have noticed is that if you had a science teacher who started out getting a BS in a science 1st, or was working as a scientist before they started getting the educational classes going, you end up with more knowledgeable teachers.
That is not to say they will be good at the art of teaching itself, but they certainly know better what they are talking about.
I for one, am very glad I got my scientific education before I ever decided to become a teacher.
I think I am more knowledgeable bcs of it.

Badger40 on December 15, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Heck we could even have classes on the global warming hoax.

tarpon on December 15, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Just spent a month talking about the politics vs science of this issue with my 10th grade biology students.
I have painstakingly guided them through the process of reading through, & searching for, legitimate scientific resources. Not Greenpeace.org BS.
We have picked & teased apart these things & looked at the data, questioning the conclusions of various researchers.
I mean, they’re only 10th graders, but I am anxious to see the results of their project:
a Powerpoint presentation accompanied by a 5 minuted informative speech.
We’ll see.

Badger40 on December 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Wow – talk about “cherry” picking the members to make a point. I thought only liberals did that. Apparently not.

What about the other 10 members?

Teafran on December 15, 2010 at 4:06 PM

School privatization needs to be high on the agenda for reforming government. We can’t have these public sector stooges shaping the minds of our future citizens.
Privatization is feasible, its just not palatble.
One step would be tax credits/rebates for those families that send their children to private schools. Why should they have to pay for a public system, when they’re paying for a private system.

People need to remember that public school systems were developed for indcotrination. They were sold to business as a way to shift training costs to tax payers, but progressives like Dewey wanted to shape skulls-full-of-mush to create their progressive utopia.

Iblis on December 15, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Farmer_Joe on December 15, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Yes, it would be a guild. You would have to go to them to hire a teacher.

JeffWeimer on December 15, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Tim Burton on December 15, 2010 at 3:20

Except that charter schools are almost all proven failures.

I’d like to know what you’d do with the Kindergartner who comes to school with no coat, no dinner to eat last night and no breakfast this morning, suspicious bruises on his arms, and no idea whether his 11 year old brother, his aunt, or his mother’s third boyfriend of the month will be caring for him after school.

Tell me, Tim: how do you get that child to learn to read? Sit him in a chair and demand it? Beat him? Send him to the principal’s office day after day after day?

Do enlighten us. Or is it just easier to beat the “public schools suck!!1!1″ drum?

Grace_is_sufficient on December 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Grace_is_sufficient on December 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Why are the rest of the kids in the class, not being properly educated?

Slowburn on December 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Why are the rest of the kids in the class, not being properly educated?

Slowburn on December 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

How do you know they’re not? By test scores? Realize that all those children with no decent home life, no stability, are also subjected to standardized tests, bringing the average down across the nation. So what’s your point?

Grace_is_sufficient on December 15, 2010 at 5:38 PM

On the first day of Winter, mt teacher taught to me…

Ward Cleaver on December 15, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Grace_is_sufficient on December 15, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Even the motivated kids who get jobs, can not give correct change if they punch in the numbers wrong.

Slowburn on December 15, 2010 at 6:46 PM

“Findings”? Really? The conclusions are already written, they’ve just gathered to dance.

DANEgerus on December 15, 2010 at 6:55 PM

I spent many years in the public classroom, first as an instructional aide, and then as a credentialed elementary school teacher. The several districts where I taught were, in my opinion, exceptional and were recognized as distinguished schools. We had much local support from parents and business. I feel the key to success is the local support given to the local schools and I am thankful to have worked in this kind of helpful atmosphere.

The key, though, is LOCAL. Never did I see any good come out of the NEA (I never joined a union) or, for that matter, the Department of Education in D.C. Oh, how I would like to see them shut down!

Also, we need more folks in the classroom who have real world experience, like working in the military, or science labs, or business. I’ve always questioned the capabilities of 23 or 24 year olds coming right out of college and going into teaching. The enthusiasm is there, but not the experience. We now have a vast amount of baby boomers who are retiring, some early, and looking for something else to do. Please consider volunteering in the classroom. The kids and the teachers would love you, and you could judge for yourself as to how your local school is doing.

Finally, I’m a firm believer in vouchers and home schooling. A little competition is good for the soul…

StarLady on December 15, 2010 at 7:21 PM

How do you know they’re not? By test scores? Realize that all those children with no decent home life, no stability, are also subjected to standardized tests, bringing the average down across the nation. So what’s your point?

Grace_is_sufficient on December 15, 2010 at 5:38 PM

I don’t think Tim advocates the abuse you are attributing to him.
Sweet Jesus.
Grace, as a HS teacher who has taught kids with problems, we cannot save them all.
We do our best, but in the end, it is the parents’ responsibility to raise their own child. It is also their family’s responsibility to make sure that kid is well cared for, like grandparents etc.
It should not be the job of public schools to care for kids who are down & out.
That is what community & neighbors & other programs are for.
The disruptions that happen bcs of these kids prohibits learning for everyone.
But one thing I do know is that when you expect good behavior & excellence out of a kid, many oftentimes they will strive for it.

Badger40 on December 15, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Not sure the NEA is really interested in helping improve our teachers. My son got in an intern Program to get a teaching credential with LAUSD. Quickly was credentialed and teaching in an under performing high school. He quickly gained the respect of his department chairman and asked to take a position to mentor the other teachers in the department. In his quest to find out what was working and what was not, he created a voluntary questionnaire to give to the teachers in his department. Within 24 hours of handing out the survey he was confronted by the principal. He was told his survey was out of line. He was told that the union objected to even a voluntary questionnaire. He endured the position for another 2 years and has left teaching. The schools eat the good ones alive and keep the rotten ones to teach our children.

Dog bites on December 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM