"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 5, 2012

NEA and TFA Update: Nancy Carlsson-Paige vs. Dennis Van Roekel

Last summer Matt Damon was introduced by his mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and spoke at the Save Our Schools March. Damon said...
"...So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. … Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back."
Matt Damon and Nancy Carlsson-Paige have once again stood up for America's teachers. Reacting to the recent editorial collaboration between NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and TFA CEO Wendy Kopp, Dr. Carlsson-Paige wrote to Van Roekel,
Recently, I read the opinion piece you wrote with Wendy Kopp in USA Today and was upset and confused by your collaboration with Teach for America. I am a life long teacher educator. I believe that one of the first things we must do to improve our nation’s schools is to extend, strengthen, and support teacher preparation. I am very familiar with TFA and believe that its short-term, minimal training of teachers undermines teacher quality and harms children who too often get an inadequate education with its teachers.
Furthermore, she and Damon have chosen to reject the nomination for the Friend of Education award offered by the NEA.
Writing that she was “confused by your collaboration” with Teach for America, Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige said she and her son, Mr. Damon, no longer desired to be nominated for the National Education Association’s Friend of Education Award.
There's a disconnect between what the NEA Representative Assembly agreed to last summer and the collaboration between President Van Roekel and TFA CEO Kopp.

The NEA has come out against anti-public education forces aligned against teachers. TFA is one such force and last summer the NEA Representative Assembly spoke out against putting untrained amateurs in the neediest schools in the country [see New Business Item 93].
NEA will publicly oppose Teach for America (TFA) contracts when they are used in Districts where there is no teacher shortage or when Districts use TFA agreements to reduce teacher costs, silence union voices, or as a vehicle to bust unions.
The NEA Friend of Education Award is
...the Association's highest honor and may be bestowed on an individual, organization, or group whose leadership, acts, or support have significantly benefited education, education employees, or students on a national scale.
By refusing the nomination for the NEA's award Matt Damon and Nancy Carlsson-Paige have proven that they understand and support the NEA's official position better than Van Roekel does.

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