Marc Lampkin, of Ed in 08 fame, and writing on the Huffington Post, gave all the candidates who appeared at last week’s National Education Association Pander-Palooza an ‘F’ grade. He even criticized the union for not allowing the candidates to do more than stand there getting stroked by the delegates.
Last week was a lost opportunity. For the most part, candidates showed up in Philly reciting back the position papers their policy analysts had gathered off the NEA website, instead of offering innovative and bold plans to challenge the status quo. It was also a lost opportunity for the NEA to raise the bar, as delegates let candidates get away with speeches that sounded empty and designed to appease with applause lines and slogans, instead of confronting the real problems in our schools.
Instead of seizing the moment, too many candidates spent too much time seeking the gratification of the delegates. But by doing so, most failed miserably. Just consider: In Philadelphia, where nearly half the students don’t graduate from high school and about two-thirds of African American and Latino students aren’t proficient in reading and math, a speech that ignores the crisis in K-12 education is like a history textbook that skips WWII: it’s incomplete.
At a convention attended by educators from all fifty states, where was the outrage that the national high school graduation rate is only 70%? Where was the concern that American math students rank 24th out of 29 countries, or that nine out of ten black 8th graders don’t read above a proficient level?
If you listened to the candidates — Republicans and Democrats — NCLB is the cause for all that is wrong with K-12 education, but that simply not the case. Whether you support NCLB or not, the problems we face in providing a quality education for all students are too big to be solved a small-minded blame game.
Read the whole thing.