Teaching Profession

Linda Darling-Hammond Gets Hero’s Welcome

By Stephen Sawchuk — July 06, 2009 1 min read

I have a feeling that were Bon Jovi to show up at the Representative Assembly, he would not nearly be granted the rock-star greeting that Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond received when she went to collect her “Friend of the NEA” award today.

She said a number of things that the union applauded:

--"Teaching is the greatest profession because everybody who is anybody was taught how to be somebody by a teacher.”

--"It’s not the people who are at fault, it’s the system that needs an overhaul. We need federal policies that support educators in doing the challenging work that they have committed to do.”

---"We need a new framework for NCLB that understands that we need multiple measures of student learning, full curriculum in science, social studies, the arts, music, and technology, and we need assessments that are performance-based like those in other countries, where teachers are involved in development and scoring and design of assessments that really measure learning.”

--"We need a new form of accountability. Tests and punishments will not create accountability.”

She talked about the union’s commitment to desegregation and civil rights, an interesting counterpoint to the report blasting the unions released today by the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights (see Eduwonk here for more).

“I get upset when I feel teachers are undervalued,” she told me after her speech. “I have spent most of my professional life trying to figure out how to build the profession of teaching.”

When I queried her on the Obama administration, she said she felt that the administration was committed to reforms done in partnership with teachers, not to them.

“I see their reform agenda as connected with initiatives teacher associations are already engaging,” she said. And the NEA, she added, is now thinking about its work in more expansive ways.

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