Saturday, March 29, 2014

Van Roekel/NEA CCSS Update

It's been almost six whole weeks since Dennis Van Roekel stepped up to make the announcement that CCSS implementation has been botched, and to suggest some startling ideas for correcting course. It' a month and two days since he took to the US News debate club to issue a rewritten version of his statement about the botch that walked back most of the exciting parts.

DVR called for all sorts of change. Some of it, like teacher involvement in a standards review process, he backed away from almost immediately. But some of it he actually said twice (and given how rarely DVR issues words to members or the public, twice is a veritable torrent). He was particularly direct on the misalignment of current teaching tools. There are teachers, he noted, who are working with old materials that aren't connected to the Core at all. And as we wade through Testing Season, we want to remember this:

Even more disturbing is that most states are requiring teachers to administer old tests that don’t line up with what is being taught.

That was a month ago. Now that teachers are dealing with these very tests, I thought I'd check to see what DVR has been up to since making these two public statements. Has he been traveling the country to talk to teachers and buck them up? Has he been delivering speeches calling for politicians to make the necessary changes? Has he thrown his weight behind the current petition to have government call a halt to inappropriate high stakes testing? Having scoured the NEA websites and driven the googlemobile around the internet block a few times, I'm ready to let you know what else DVR has said or done about these issues. Here it comes:

Yeah, that's pretty much it.

I don't know. Maybe he saw his shadow and went back to sleep for six weeks. Or maybe NEA is still being run by people who think that talking to their members is beneath them. At least teachers know that in difficult and discouraging times, we can all absolutely count on our national leadership to be silent, disengaged, and unhelpful.

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