A new move by the Obama Administration may actually move education reform further than No Child Left Behind ever did. “Civil rights advocates are blasting new federal legislation that allows states to classify teaching interns as ‘highly qualified teachers’ and regularly assign them to schools with mostly poor, minority students,” The Washington Examiner reported on January 5, 2011. “The amendment to the federal No Child Left Behind Act was signed Dec. 22 by President Obama as part of an unrelated spending bill.”
“The measure nullifies an earlier decision by the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals that California illegally classified thousand of teaching interns as ‘highly qualified teachers.’” It also flies in the face of policies promoted by the National Education Association (NEA) teachers’ union and gives a boost to the Teach for America (TFA) program whose alumni include former Washington, D. C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
The NEA has all but declared war on TFA. That the left-wing union should focus so much ire on the left-leaning group is a rather ironic development. Nevertheless, such antipathy on the part of the NEA gives an idea of how much it values job security over productivity.
In the nation’s capital as well as in other major metro areas, TFA interns have been teaching circles around card-carrying NEA members. Who knows? They might even be able to teach NEA members.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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