I have a simple question for Dennis Van Roekel.
Would you please list five points on which you disagree with Arne Duncan and the USDOE?
I ask because I realized this morning that I can't think of any, and that in my own mind, you and Arne Duncan have become like different manifestations of the same person. So I'm wondering.
I understand that disagreeing with the USDOE is not automatically a good thing, and I do not want to propose that union leadership should be judged based on how much they argue with the government. I even confess that I do not believe the government is always wrong. I also recognize that you are just about out the door, but I don't imagine that you single-handed set the tone and direction for NEA leadership.
However, if NEA leadership is simply traveling in lockstep with the current administration with no critical or independent views, I'm betting that's not A Good Thing. If NEA's policy is, "Hey, if it comes out of Duncan's office, that's good enough for us," it's not good enough for me.
I've been trying to think of a time you criticized an administration policy, a time when you said, "Mr. Duncan is just wrong on this," a time at which you said, "While it might be politically expedient to stay silent, on this matter I must speak up against the administration and on behalf of my members." I can't think of any.
Now, my memory is not as sharp as it-- well, my memory has never been sharp. So maybe I'm just forgetting something. In which case, you or someone can correct me. And I'm really hoping you will.
Because if there are no points of significant disagreement between the USDOE and the NEA, what exactly do we need the NEA for?
So I'll ask again-- can you name five significant policy points on which you disagree with Arne Duncan?