This is weirdly close to the recent related post, so the people who like to accuse will claim that I’m paying extra-special attention to this because ED in ’08 advertises on my blog, but since Cindi passed it on to me, I’ll show just how much I care for such folks’ opinions by passing it on to you (wait — did I say that out loud? how do I let them know because of the unfreezing process, I have no inner monologue?):
WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 //PRNewswire-USNewswire// — Today Marc Lampkin, Strong American Schools’ ED in ’08 executive director, posted a blog entry on the Huffington Post criticizing a recent release from the National Education Association that responded to the recent Democratic debate and the candidates’ positions on performance pay for teachers.
"Instead of celebrating the dawn of a true education debate, some groups want to end it. For example, the National Education Association released a press statement that seems to imply all the candidates answered the question the exact same way — they were against it.
"Now that’s just mystifying to me. Anyone who watched Sunday’s debate should have seen a difference of opinion among the candidates. Yes, two candidates came out firmly against it. But when Stephanopoulos said ‘no one on the stage is for merit pay for teachers,’ one candidate jumped in to say that he definitely is for it. A second then asked for more time to clarify that he is for performance pay under certain circumstances. And a third offered his own version of performance pay-providing competitive salaries to compete with fields like engineering for top college students.
"That’s exactly the kind of education debate we should be having — and the kind Americans deserve! Maybe the NEA just wasn’t watching closely. Maybe they simply missed the point. With American schools needing to hire 2 million new teachers over the next decade, we should all be discussing how to attract America’s best and brightest to teach our students-presidential candidates included. Let’s not squelch that important debate just as it’s getting started."
Cindi sent me that because I was thinking about writing in my Sunday column about all these groups that are making their presence felt in S.C., from AARP to ONE, and Mike and I had been expressing thoughts about how the limitations, and even deleterious effects, of such blogs (Mike’s quote: "a question of Astroturf replacing grass roots") and Cindi stuck up for them, saying they were, too, having a good effect, and she sent me the above release as her way of saying, See? So there.
I will say that in this case, this particular rep of the Bill Gates-funded group is doing a good thing. Readers of our pages will know that we favor merit pay, so how dare the NEA try to squelch debate, via the time-honored dishonest tactic of convincing everyone it’s already squelched. This does no service to the kids in public schools, it certainly doesn’t help the Democratic candidates with us swing voters, and, believe it or not, it does the NEA no good either — at least, it does them no good when their fannies are exposed like this.
Here’s hoping the NEA takes out advertising on my blog, too, so I can demonstrate my independence by kicking them some more over merit pay… (wait! did I say that out loud, too…?)