U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has come in for quite a bit of criticism at this year’s National Education Association Representative Assembly. But the NEA delegates moved swiftly to table New Business Item 44, which would have encouraged President Obama to replace Duncan with “a person who is aligned with the interests of the NEA, its members, and especially the students it serves.”
In my four years of covering the RA, I have never actually seen something like this happen. Usually unpopular resolutions are defeated, but not removed entirely from consideration.
That said, the general tenor of this item confirms a somewhat odd phenomenon I’ve remarked on about this year’s RA, and that is that delegates have fastened on Duncan or, as in NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s keynote speech, “the president’s advisers,” as a whipping boy for policies they don’t like—as if Duncan weren’t answering directly to President Obama.
We got an extended riff on that theme from the delegate who tried to offer this new business item, Geoff Mize of Ohio. “When an adviser has laid out such a misguided path, it behooves a president to replace that adviser. His path is not turning hope into action.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.