It amazing to me how easily the anti-union forces in education get such easy media access. Since the NEA and AFT in effect called for Arne Duncan's resignation, there has been a rash of articles pro reform in nature.
This one from the Washington Post especially stands out because of its authors. The lead-in tells you only their present position, but nothing about their backgrounds.
Here is yesterday's op ed by Hanna Skandera and Kevin Huffman.
You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to meet higher expectations.They have no clue just how angry the union members, not just bosses, are at Arne Duncan and his policies. No clue at all.
....Under pressure from the militant wing of her union, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten took the cynical step this month of backing away from support for the Common Core State Standards, announcing a new fund for teachers to critique and rewrite the standards. This is the latest and most visible step in a year-long campaign by the union to discredit the implementation of higher academic standards and — most important — the measurement of student progress against these higher standards.
Meanwhile, the big news coming out of the National Education Association convention one week earlier was a resolution calling for the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The union’s bosses have been cross with Duncan before, but most recently, he issued mildly supportive comments on a legal decision that threw out California’s teacher tenure and seniority laws because of their appalling impact on poor and minority students.
A little bit about Jeb's Chiefs for Change for some background on these two.
Jeb Bush has a vision to impose his will nationwide, and he enjoys nothing more than doing so in the arena of educational reform. To this end, Bush used his Foundation for Educational Excellence (FEE) to create the offshoot, reform-exclusive club of Bush-serving state superintendents known as Chiefs for Change. The “chiefs” are merely spokes revolving around Bush the hub.Kevin Huffman is former VP of Teach for America, Commissioner of Education in Tennessee. Interestingly he is also the former husband of fading ed reform star, Michelle Rhee.
Indeed, if the name “Chiefs for Change” could be reduced to a single word, that word would be Bush. Bush’s FEE created Chiefs for Change, “to rally behind a common agenda,” highlighted in short form on the Chiefs for Change member page:
Chiefs for Change is a program operated by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, focused on education reform, state-by-state.
These days, if an organization advertises itself as both nonpartisan and nonprofit, beware: You have stepped into the world of corporate reform, and their agenda is difficult to scrape off of your shoes. Bush is closely connected to a number of ALEC corporations, including both K12 and Connections Academy (now a Pearson company), which promote virtual education; Charter Schools USA, and APEX Learning.
Huffman joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs during more than a decade with the organization. As head of growth strategy and development, he grew Teach For America’s annual revenue from $11 million to over $110 million and managed the opening of 14 new regional sites. As the head of public affairs, he managed all federal policy and legislative work, including passing authorizing legislation through Congress, managing organizational engagement in the reauthorization of education and national service legislation, and overseeing federal grants including receipt of a $50 million Innovation Fund grant. Huffman also managed research and evaluation, communications, state and district policy, and relations with nonprofit and faith community leaders. Huffman served on the organization’s leadership team throughout his tenure, as Teach For America grew into the largest provider of new teachers in the country.What they don't point out is that during his reign at TFA the group got a failing grade for its accounting skills.
The Department of Education Inspector General examined a small slice of the group's federal funding. What they found was shocking. In all, Teach for America failed to account for half the money audited. Time and time again the audit said there were no basic records or receipts: None for a $123,878 training expense; none for a $342,428 bill.Skandera also has her page at Jeb's Chiefs for Change website.
Teach for America vice president Kevin Huffman chalks it up to poor record keeping.
"We're confident, we're confident that we spent the money on the training of new teachers," Huffman said.
Attkisson said: "There was no agenda; no description of meals; no list of attendees. That sounds like a little more than sloppy bookkeeping."
"I think it's a question of what records should have been kept," Huffman said.
Deutsch29 has more to say about her background.
The next “Chief” I’d like to examine is New Mexico’s Hanna Skandera. Skandera is not an educator:
It seems obvious, given [Skandera's] complete lack of educational credentials and her political background, that Hanna Skandera is a foot soldier in an ideological war taking place right now against working people – teachers and other unionized workers. This is the national agenda of the organizations she is and has been affiliated with. … Her political credentials and affiliations aside, Ms. Skandera can offer absolutely no professional qualifications to be New Mexico’s or any other state’s secretary of education.
She has no background in curriculum and instruction, yet she feels competent enough to suggest a policy of assigning letter grades to classroom teachers as a solution. Skandera has never had the day-to-day experience of being in charge of a classroom with elementary school children herself, yet she feels competent to evaluate trained, experienced teachers.
So, then, why is she being vetted as the New Mexico secretary of education? Most likely the answer is because she was recommended to our new governor by people outside the state who are fronting a national political agenda that is antithetical and indifferent to the needs of the people and children of New Mexico.
What “political agenda” is Skandera “fronting”? Why, Jeb Bush’s