Education

New Group Nudges Dems in New Direction

September 19, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Democrats for Education Reform marked its Washington debut on Monday night. The New York-based PAC says it wants to be a player in the NCLB debate. Elizabeth Rich, an online editor for the section of edweek.org serving teachers, attended and filed this report:

With a perfect view of the Washington and Jefferson Monuments and the sun setting behind the White House, the Democrats for Education Reform held their organization launch. DFER is angling to get party support behind education issues--as they see them.

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., spoke, but left early; DC Public School Chancellor Michelle Rhee, spoke about hiring around union rules (making her an excellent candidate for DFER’s darling); and Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., received an award, in absentia, for her support of charter schools.

Kevin Chavous, DFER’s board chair and a former District of Columbia councilman, said he and executive director, Joe Williams, had been “in meetings with legislators all day.”

According to Williams, “We were introducing our group, asking questions, generally encouraging them [legislators] to be strong in support of NCLB.”

Sound like lobbying? “Well, yes you could say that,” he said.

Williams added: “We’re interested in NCLB as an important law, but we need to be careful about any fixes—we need to make sure that we are dealing with problems that we’ve identified, rather than creating new ones.”

What is their position exactly on NCLB? “We’re closer too what [Rep.] George Miller wants than what the NEA [National Education Association] wants—like creating incentives for getting the best possible teachers in struggling schools. We want to see the bulk of the money going to high-poverty schools, with assignments of [quality] teachers to struggling schools.”

Williams’ position on local assessments is that they could strangle reform. “There needs to be national standards,” he said. The federal government should have a role because school systems aren’t at their best when they are loaded down with requirements, according to Williams.

On the unions, his response was mitigated, “Our goal is not to battle with the unions, but to try and get other voices into the discussion—parents, students, communities, business people also have a stake in this and should be able to take part in the discussion.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP