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Two Democratic Groups Push Back Against NEA

October 01, 2007 1 min read

The inclusion of performance pay may make NCLB a “deal breaker” for the NEA. But its absence would disappoint some Democrats.

The Center for American Progress—led by John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton White House—says that the proposed grant programs supporting new performance-pay projects should stay in the House’s NCLB draft. “This is an important initiative that deserves support on both sides of the aisle—especially from progressives who believe in strengthening public education for low-income students,” CAP says in a brief for media.

The fact sheet then counters many of NEA’s talking points against the proposals. It says the programs would be voluntary, wouldn’t rob teachers of their bargaining rights, and wouldn’t create competitive working conditions. It concludes by offering media interviews with CAP’s in-house experts.

Over at Democrats for Education Reform, Charles Barone offers up a 14-page brief on NCLB. (Barone, a former staffer for House education committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., has given his insider’s perspective in comments here and here on this blog.) Barone covers the history of NCLB’s predecessor, highlighting why the Clinton administration shied away from requiring disaggregated data and how Rep. Miller tried in 1999 to nationalize Texas’ accountability system.

In the current debate, Barone says the teacher-pay proposal “is a comprehensive and thoughtful package of carrots and sticks.” The proposal for multiple measures and local assessments could damage NCLB provisions “that empower parents with clear information and that target crucial educational resources,” he writes. Note the while NEA wants to such changes to the law’s testing rules, it says the current proposal still puts too much emphasis on the current testing system.

Barone has identified the two big issues that House staff members are trying to hash out as they prepare a bill for the Education and Labor Committee to consider. Where will the Democrats on the committee come down on teacher pay? Stay tuned.

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