AFT asks Arne Duncan to change — or resign
At its annual convention in Los Angeles, the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution that asks President Obama to essentially put an accountability plan in place for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. If Duncan does not change his position and work harder on issues that matter most to the AFT, the resolution encourages the President to ask for Sec. Duncan’s resignation.
A similar resolution was passed by the National Education Association, but it asked for Duncan’s immediate resignation. Both organizations are especially fed up with Duncan’s support of Race to the Top incentives that tie student assessment scores to teacher evaluations, and Duncan’s support of teacher firings in a Rhode Island school district. The groups also point out the Duncan’s comments on the New Orleans’ school system improving as a result of Hurricane Katrina were insensitive and wrong.
Representatives for the AFT said that unlike the NEA resolution which seeks immediate action, theirs is all about due process and giving Duncan the opportunity to right his wrongs.
“What the AFT is telling this country and Secretary Duncan is that you have a right to improve just like every educator in this country, but if you can’t, you need to get out and stop hurting our kids,” said AFT president Michael Mulgrew.
Sec. Duncan has been pretty tight-lipped about both resolutions so far, with his press secretary issuing a statement that said Duncan is looking forward to continuing to work alongside both groups for the benefit of American students.
I don’t think the President Obama will take either of these resignation calls very seriously — after all, Sec. Duncan is just carrying out the plans that the President has already made obvious he also supports. Should the NEA and the AFT be spending this energy elsewhere?