Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lily E. Garcia Will Break My Heart

It is clear that my relationship with the new NEA president will be fraught with ups and downs.

I have expressed my willingness to be courted. And she has definitely had her moments.

Back on August 11, Valerie Strauss unveiled an interview with LEG that had many folks cheering. Plainspoken and direct, LEG, provided a brace of great quotes:

Arne Duncan is a very nice man. I actually believe he is a very honest man. And that cannot excuse the fact that he is wrong wrong wrong on just about every thing that he believes is reform.

And I believe will go down to my last breath telling people that the most corrupting influence in public influence today is a high-stakes consequence for not hitting the cut score on a standardized test.

Stop doing stupid.

Her call for what is somewhere between civil disobedience and passive-aggressive insubordination.
“The revolution I want is ‘proceed until apprehended.’”In other words, ignore directives to engage in educational malpractice, and follow your best professional judgment until someone pins you down and forces you.

That is dead on. Yes, you have to weigh taking a stand against keeping your job in some settings. But there are also teachers out there following bad instructions because they are afraid that an administrator might speak to them sternly or give them a dirty look. It is way past time for teachers to stop being good little soldiers.

So, with the WaPo interview, LEG had me feeling all the feelings. Yes, her love for CCSS remained undimmed, but, you know, no relationship is perfect. And yes, the word on the street is that LEG talks a better game than she delivers, but that still makes her a step up from DVR, who was 0/2 on the talking/delivering business.

And then came this NEA press release in response to the PDK/Gallup poll that further chronicled the not-love directed at the Core.

It’s no surprise that many aren’t behind the Common Core as they are victims of targeted misinformation campaigns. Some on the far right have turned high standards for all students into a political football.

Dammit, Lily. I thought I could believe in you.

It's one thing to take the position that the Core are swell and lovely. You're wrong, but I get it (but you're wrong).

But it's quite another thing to stick with that old baloney about how people who don't love the Core are either 1) tragically misinformed or 2) tin hat Tea Party tools. Mistaking the CCSS for sound educational policy can be chalked up to a very different point of view (although, you are wrong). But mistaking the opposition to CCSS as a combination of ignorance and political wingnuttery is just delusional.

I know that you have to hold the NEA line, and that "proceed until apprehended" can be used in a classroom, but never an NEA boardroom. But even the backers of the CCSS have figured out they can't simply write off opposition as the result of ignorance and political buffonery. I don't think it's too much to expect the leader of my national union to have figured out the same thing.

This is going to be a long, tumultuous courtship as it is. Let's not make things worse by writing off critics from within the union itself. My heart just can't take it.

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