Teaching Profession

NEA Melting on Charters?

By Vaishali Honawar — September 09, 2008 1 min read

Has Obama actually converted the NEA into a fan of charter schools?

Maybe not quite, but when did you last hear an NEA president say something like this about charter schools:

“Those of us in the education community can learn from charter school success stories and failures. The key is to identify what is working that can be sustained and reproduced on a broad scale so that as many students as possible can benefit.”

That’s a quote from Dennis Van Roekel, the NEA president, and it came in a statement issued right after Obama’s speech in Dayton, Ohio, where he unveiled his education reform plan that, among other things, calls for doubling funding for charter schools.

“Sen. Obama gets it,” Van Roekel says about the plan. “He knows that reform cannot take place overnight or by using quick fixes. Obama wants to invest in comprehensive strategies, both immediate and long-term, which will pay dividends for our children, our economy and our country.”

The Ohio Federation of Teachers, which is not exactly a fan of charter schools in the state, happens to be an American Federation of Teachers affiliate, however, and there’s no word yet from them so far on the Obama plan.

Update: Here’s what Randi Weingarten, the president of the AFT, had to say about Obama’s plan on charters and merit pay:

“Sen. Obama is absolutely right that successful charter schools should be supported and held accountable, and that failing charter schools should be shut down...Sen. Obama and the AFT also see eye to eye on supporting differentiated compensation plans that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Well-designed pay plans negotiated with teachers treat them as the professionals they are, which in the end helps students.”

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