Echo Chamber: The National Education Association's Campaign Against NCLB
The National Education Association has spent millions on public relations campaigns attacking NCLB ever since enactment. What the public doesn't know until now is that the NEA has also given millions of dollars in backchannel support to advocacy organizations, researchers, civil rights groups, and state political operatives to erode the federal law's legitimacy. In this report, Joe Williams details the support these groups and individuals received from the NEA to "echo" and amplify the union's own criticisms of the law. A professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, who wished to remain anonymous because of his relationship with the union, said, "The [NEA] has a lot of money for research, but it wants the conclusions to match its agenda." For example, the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, a nonprofit outfit, has supported many studies critical of NCLB and high-stakes testing. According to Williams, "All [of those studies] have been funded entirely with money from the NEA and several state affiliates." While the center's director denies that his organization's research also winds up supporting NEA policy positions, so far as we can tell Great Lakes has never produced a study supportive of testing or NCLB. Other, similar situations are detailed in the report. Williams does not accuse the NEA of anything illegal (the union has disclosed all financial dealings that the law requires). But citizens should know that, when they read that some non-profit group has condemned NCLB or some analyst has found another flaw in NCLB, NEA money is probably behind it. To learn more about the union's tactics, read the Williams report here.
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