This speech is a little old now, but I am in the midst of some education world catchup. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently addressed the NEA at their annual convention. His speech was filled with notable and quotable sentences highlighted by Andy Smarick on Flypaper.
There were some conciliatory parts and some parts that the NEA was no doubt unhappy to hear. He noted that all education organizations really need to work together to make our public schools benefit children and not just adults. I have never faulted unions for serving their membership. My issue has always been wrapping that mission in rhetoric that purports to benefit children. It’s just dishonest. I bring this up because Duncan is saying the right things here, but I have no hope of unions changing their spots.
My favorite part of the speech are these two sentences though:
A recent report from the New Teacher Project found that almost all teachers are rated the same. Who in their right mind really believes that?
Test scores alone should never drive evaluation, compensation or tenure decisions. That would never make sense. But to remove student achievement entirely from evaluation is illogical and indefensible.