We will never resuscitate the teacher labor movement by currying favor with those who behind euphemisms like “reform” or “college ready” really are bent on the destruction of public education as we have known it, their ultimate goal being a corporate, profit oriented education market. Yet, the leadership of both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers continue to seek and tout a seat at the table where ironically the demise of public education is cleverly plotted.
I’m on this theme again having read an article in the May 10 NEA today entitled “Six Ways the Common Core is Good For Students.” The article quotes several teachers extolling the virtues of the Common Core . The piece also links to other areas of the NEA website that weave a narrative of how the NEA was part of the development of the Common Core, a narrative clearly written to make it appear as though the voice of teachers was heard.
That teachers voices were not heard, or maybe were not expressed by the National Board Certified teachers the NEA sent to the meetings, becomes very clear when one reads the responses of teachers in the trenches to the article. Not one has anything good to say. And those comments are very much like the ones I hear daily from the members of my local union.
The national unions find themselves living a paradox. Both are trying to get back to their organizing roots. But they don’t seem to want to seriously organize around the issues that excite their members. Nobody I know is marching for the Common Core. Nobody I know is doing labor walks for the Common Core. They are not going to their state capitols to ask for more Common Core. Why don’t the leaders of the NEA know this? Their failure is frightening. In so many ways, our leaders organize opposition to themselves when they seek seats at a table that is set as a trap.