Below is the formal text of the California New Business Item submitted to the 2014 NEA Representative Assembly for debate and a vote:
The NEA Representative Assembly joins other educators and parents in calling for the resignation of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan for the Department’s failed education agenda focused on more high-stakes testing, grading and pitting public school children against each other based on test scores and for continuing to promote policies and decisions that undermine public schools and colleges, the teaching profession, education professionals and education unions.
Rationale: Secretary Duncan once again showed his lack of understanding of education law and policy, his disregard of the true challenges facing our students and schools, and his disrespect for the hard-working educators in our schools and colleges across the country when he tweeted, “Today’s court decision is a mandate to fix these problems.” immediately following the flawed verdict in Vergara v. State of California, striking down laws protecting teachers from arbitrary firings, supporting due process rights and providing transparency in layoff decisions. While educators recognize the administration’s focus on bringing more resources to public education, the policies of Secretary Duncan from Race to the Top, to NCLB waivers, to teacher evaluation have been more top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates focused on high-stakes testing and using test scores to punish students, educators and schools. Since the beginning, Duncan’s department has been led by graduates of the Broad Academy, Education Trust-West and other organizations determined to scapegoat teachers and their unions. Most recently, some of these former Obama administration staffers announced a national campaign attacking educators’ rights. Authentic education change only comes when all stakeholders – teachers, parents, administrators and the community – work together to best meet the needs of the students in their school or college. Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are part of the solution. And it’s time we have a Secretary of Education who understands and believes that.