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The NEA Discovers the Root Problem in Education

Earlier today, NPR's Morning Edition broadcast an interview (available only in RealAudio format; I've transcribed part of it here) with Reg Weaver, the incoming president of the National Education Assocation. The interview started on the subject of school vouchers:

NPR: Reg Weaver is a science teacher from suburban Chicago who next week takes over as the new president of the NEA. He says the union continues to oppose vouchers despite substantial support for them within the African-American community.

Reg Weaver: Being an African-American myself, and a classroom teacher, and a parent, I think I have a little experience in terms of what the issues are, and if you will look at the research, it's not necessarily because the schools are not performing as we would like for them to, but because of discipline problems, because of drugs, because of crime, and what I am saying is that I want all schools to be as good as our best school.

NPR: Unfortunately, that hasn't happened, um...

Reg Weaver: No, it hasn't happened...

NPR: Why shouldn't there be an alternative?

Reg Weaver: But see, it hasn't happened because I think the voucher issue is a divisive issue, and it has a tendency to pit classes of people against other classes, rather than saying it is all of our responsibility to educate all children to the best of our ability.

Go ahead and read that a second time. Weaver states that he wants "all schools to be as good as our best school." He admits that's not the case today and is asked why there's no alternative. "Because," he answers, "the voucher issue is a divisive issue..." Yes, that's correct. The new president of the NEA is taking the position that advocacy of school vouchers is the reason that many schools today perform so badly.

In essence, Weaver is saying that to merely advocate a point of view that differs from his union's is to impede the improvement of schools. This is a nearly unbelievable statement, even coming from the NEA.

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