Why NEA Opposes CO TVal Law (But Not IL)

Why NEA Opposes CO TVal Law (But Not IL)

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds -- everyone knows that -- but folks in and out of the reform movement have been noting apparent inconsistencies in AFT and NEA position on similar-seeming proposals and statutes.

This time it's Chicago reform critic Mike Klonsky who has questions.  One of them is directed at NEA head Dennis Van Roekel, whose union supported teacher evaluation law in Illinois that among other things gives student achievement a role but opposes the "nearly identical" law now in Colorado [SB191].

Wait just a second, says Alice O'Brien, NEA Office of General Counsel.  The Colorado lawsuit that NEA is supporting is a challenge to the "discharge without cause" provisions of SB191, not the evaluation provisions.

According to the NEA, there's nothing like that in SB 7.  "The IL law was not modeled on SB 191, does not include the type of discharge without cause provisions challenged in the CO lawsuit, and includes collectively bargained evaluation plans, which IEA strongly supports."

Image via Klonsky.


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  • I learned it as, "A _foolish_ consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Changes the meaning a bit...

  • In reply to Curmudgeon:

    thanks -- yes!

  • Klonsky has questions? Nooo, Klonsky has answers!

  • In reply to Donn:

    hah! very funny. he'd say the same about you (and me, too).

  • so i told mike on twitter and on his blog that, according to the NEA at least, the provisions and circumstances surrounding SB 191 (colo) and SB 7 (il) weren't identical.

    his initial response was an angry rant against me (for botching the consistency quote, among other things) and an attempt to refocus attention on how lame the NEA is for still supporting SB7 (which may be true from his POV but isn't the point here).

    i tried to point this out to him but he blocked or deleted that comment and seems to be ducking me on twitter. so here are the current comments on his site -- make of it what you will.


    preaprezFebruary 1, 2014 at 1:41 PM
    Just to point out that CURRENT IFT President Dan Montgomery on the left is also applauding SB7 - and lobbied for it. Swanson is gone, but current IEA President Cinda Klickna also supported and supports the bill. IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin (along with Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman wrote the law. They ALL have a lot to answer for.


    Mike KlonskyFebruary 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM
    Thanks for pointing that out Fred. I should have also mentioned, that's Robin Steans in the center. The Steans family heiress is the head of Advance Illinois, the group that actually crafted SB7. Steans went on to heap praise on the IEA and IFT leadership for their "collaboration" on the bill and then attacked Karen Lewis and the CTU for withdrawing its support for SB7.


    Alexander RussoFebruary 6, 2014 at 9:14 AM
    oh, by the way -- the NEA says that your comparison between IL and CO is incorrect, which is why they still support the IL and are opposing the CO


    Mike KlonskyFebruary 6, 2014 at 12:26 PM
    Thanks to education gadfly Alexander Russo for pointing out the inconsistency in the NEA's position and for carrying water for the NEA leadership as they try to defend the indefensible.

    Russo tries, in his own clumsy way, to piss on the fire set when IEA leaders helped write and pass SB7. After all, he blogs, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." He actually bungles Emerson's quote which goes, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

    But he's only wetting his own pants. I'm certainly not a statesman, philosopher (well maybe) or a diviner. I'm not asking the NEA for consistency. In fact, that has been the problem all along. Van Roekel has been consistent in his defense of legislation and contracts which base teacher evaluation mainly on student test scores. This is precisely the part of those union-backed agreements that is being used to fire teachers in Colorado, D.C., California, New Jersey and elsewhere.

    I'm especially thankful to Russo to getting NEA lawyer O'Brien to reaffirm the leadership's continued support for SB7, the union-busting bill that was passed in IL with lots of big-money backing from Stand For Children and union-hating billionaire candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner. It's been very difficult to get current IEA leaders to talk about SB7, for obvious reasons.

    No, Russo, there's nothing foolish or "small minded" about the consistency of rank-and-file teachers' hatred of SB7 or SB191. Atty. O'Brien should suing them both. Her statement merely point out a distinction without a difference.


    preaprezFebruary 6, 2014 at 4:31 PM
    As a delegate to the 2012 IEA state convention (Representative Assembly), I was there when Executive Director and co-author of SB7 Audrey Soglin was directed by an overwhelming vote of the delegates to make a report to the 2013 RA on the "negative impact on teachers" of SB7. While Soglin did make a report, what it was based on was a mystery to most. And no recommendations came out of it. That reports remains buried in some dusty closet at the Springfield HQ of the IEA. But the vote of the delegates in 2012 spoke volumes as to what Illinois classroom teachers thought. And nothing about that has changed (in fact, it has only gotten worse), including the IEA leaderships attachment to SB7.

    - Fred Klonsky

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