Thursday, March 18, 2010

Major unions oppose ESEA reauthorization

Both major teacher unions are giving President Obama's plan to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known during the Bush administration as No Child Left Behind) a big "thumbs down."

According to this article by Education Week reporter Stephen Sawchuk, both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have problems with the bill under consideration in Washington.

AFT President Randi Weingarten issued a harsh assessment of the proposal, saying that it "places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent authority."

Weingarten said the proposal, which converts federal programs such as Title I funding into competitive grants, will make school funding too dependent on political issues in the states and "how well a district can write a grant.”

Rep. David R. Obey of Wisconsin, who chairs an appropriations subcommittee, said that he believes the aim should be "keeping local school district and taxpayers’ heads above water until the economy is more fully recovered,” instead of radically redesigning the federal act.

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