Teachers Unions Rip Changes to Education Act
Byline: Amy Fagan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Leaders of the nation's teachers unions yesterday told lawmakers that Congress is not doing enough to loosen the tough requirements set by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The leaders of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) were among representatives from more than 40 civil rights, business and education groups who testified before the House Education and Labor Committee about a bipartisan draft proposal of changes to the law.
Committee Chairman George Miller, California Democrat, and Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of California, the top Republican on the panel, created the draft. The law is up for renewal this year.
NEA President Reg Weaver said the draft "makes only minor tweaks in the divisive and dysfunctional law" and that his 3.2-million-member group opposes the proposals.
AFT Executive Vice President Antonia Cortese said the draft does not give enough flexibility to teachers.
"We have a long way to go," she said.
Mr. Miller is trying to strike a middle ground between teachers unions and education groups that want to relax the testing and tracking requirements and the business groups and the administration that generally hope to keep in place much of the same level of accountability.
Mr. Miller and Mr. Weaver had a testy exchange yesterday over a provision in the draft that encourages merit pay for teachers, which the NEA opposes. Mr. Miller said the NEA supported the same language in past legislation, but Mr. Weaver said his group did not, according to the Associated Press.
"You can dance around all you want. You approved the language," the AP reported Mr. Miller as saying.
The 2002 law requires states to test students in reading and math and track their annual progress. …