Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Educators speak out at Democratic Convention

In the primary season the AFT supported Hillary Clinton and the NEA mostly sat on its hands. Both are now solidly behind Obama, as we would expect. Both groups will be listened to, but given their slow arrival at the campaign, one can ask whether they will be welcomed as insiders going forward.

But to get a clearer sense of where Obama is heading on education we can listen to what Jon Schnur, an education adviser to Barack Obama’s campaign and CEO of the non-profit reform group New Leaders for New Schools, has to say. Schur spoke on the first night of the covention Monday night at one of the three "American town halls".

According to EdWeeks's convention coverage,

Schnur tackled a very broad question from a Philadelphia mom who was piped in on video, who wanted to know how Obama would reform schools. Schnur basically recited Obama’s education platform in lightning speed, but emphasized the Illinois senator’s plan to recruit and retain effective teachers with the goal of getting the best teachers in schools where our students need them the most. Schnur, and his school reform group that trains school administrators, are more open than the teachers' unions are to ideas such as merit pay.

Also on stage on night one were National Education Association President Reg Weaver, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Weaver said: "He knows we must hold schools accountable. But that the world is too complex and diverse to judge students by a single, multiple choice, and high stakes test." Weingarten added: “Barack Obama knows teachers must be partners, not pawns, in federal education policy.”

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