Teaching Profession

AFT’s Race to the Top Resolution in Flux

By Stephen Sawchuk — July 11, 2010 1 min read

Rumors were floating around for days that American Federation of Teachers officials would offer a resolution critical of the federal Race to the Top program, but such a resolution never made it to the convention floor.

Some wonky background for you: An AFT affiliate did submit a Race to the Top resolution, but it wasn’t considered because submitted resolutions are first handled by resolutions committees. Only three resolutions from each committee’s list are put to the entire delegate assembly. The RTT resolution, I’m told, came up fourth.

It will be referred to the union’s executive council today, and then to a resolutions body for approval or rejection.

This is somewhat different from the National Education Association’s New Business Items, which only require 50 signatures before they are put to the entire delegation. You’ll recall that at their convention last week, the NEA’s delegates, by a slim margin, took a position of “no confidence” in both the Race to the Top guidelines and in the use of competitive grants as a basis for the reauthorization of ESEA.

The AFT resolution states that the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top initiative “promotes merit pay, charter schools and federal intervention into educational issues strictly protected by states’ rights"; “fails to provide meaningful reform"; and “will ... undermine the collective bargaining process.”

The resolution also calls for the union to oppose efforts to transform federal funding from formula programs to competitive grants.

That’s something the AFT is already doing.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.