Tag Archives: Dennis Van Roekel

Romney doubles down on class size claim, vilifies educator unions | Education Votes

29 Sep

Hearing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeat yet again his claim that class size does not matter, voters must be tempted to quote a former president who famously said, “There you go again!”

Romney voiced his class size mantra yesterday at an appearance at the Education Nation Summit hosted by NBC News. The former Massachusetts governor’s pronouncement that class size does not play a role in student achievement flies in the face of decades of research and the first-hand knowledge of educators and parents. More…

via Romney doubles down on class size claim, vilifies educator unions | Education Votes.


Teachers unions differ on approach to controversial education film – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com

8 Sep

The leaders of the country’s two largest teachers unions are taking different tacks when it comes to a controversial film set to be released later this month.

“Won’t Back Down,” which is expected to get a wide release on Sept. 28, has angered teachers union members for its depiction of a teachers union that hampers a crusading single mother who wants to improve her daughter’s school. The movie has also gained heavy promotion from groups that often spar with teachers unions, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and StudentsFirst, which was founded by former Washington, D.C., public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. More…

via Teachers unions differ on approach to controversial education film – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com.

Reinventing the Largest Teachers’ Union – John Wilson Unleashed – Education Week

10 Jul

It has often been said that changing the National Education Association is like turning around a large battleship, but that has not stopped Dennis Van Roekel, the current president, from working to forge a consensus around changed policy among his constituents. In the face of declining membership, Democratic reformers who push an agenda that teachers find hard to embrace, and Republican governors who have gone after NEA affiliates with a vengeance, NEA has reached a point of change or perish. Well, that may be a little dramatic. Let’s say this instead: NEA must reinvent its mission and vision to align with a world class education for all American students or become irrelevant. Continue reading


26 Jun
FROM TWITTER FEED: VEA: NEA President asks NCUEA/NEA delegates not to throw Arne Duncan “under the bus” at this year’s Representative Assembly.

Michelle Rhee’s Group Asks Teachers Unions To Promote Reform Policies At State Level

21 Jun

The day after Michelle Rhee’s education lobbying group, StudentsFirst, got dumped by progressive petition site Change.org because of intense pressure from teachers’ unions, StudentsFirst waved a thorny olive branch of sorts at the nation’s two largest such unions.

On Wednesday afternoon, StudentsFirst, along with other education groups such as Democrats for Education Reform, Students for Education Reform and Hispanic CREO, wrote a letter to Dennis Van Roekel and Randi Weingarten, presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, asking for a “new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.” Continue reading

Teacher tenure is under increased attack

20 Jan

If teachers in Missouri feel as though their job security is under attack, they’re not alone.

Efforts to abolish or chip away at teacher tenure and erode collective bargaining have been popping up across the country, most recently with the filing this week of an initiative petition that would eliminate tenure for new teachers in Missouri.

The petition comes on the heels of a year that saw an unprecedented number of legislative efforts to rewrite teacher tenure laws, according to one national education policy expert.

“Last year was a sea change,” said Kathy Christie, vice president for knowledge and information management with the Education Commission of the States, based in Denver. Continue reading

Matt Damon’s mother is wrong – Class Struggle – The Washington Post

16 Jan

Almost all of us say that as a nation we should work out our differences and unite to solve our problems. But we don’t mean it.

Exhibit A is the bad blood between the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher union, and Teach for America, the most popular public-service option for graduates of selective colleges.

The NEA has been at odds with TFA since the teacher-recruitment program began. NEA leaders dislike the idea, conceived in 1989 by then 22-year-old Princeton undergraduate Wendy Kopp, of giving young people selected for academic achievement and ambition just five weeks of summer training before having them teach in some of our lowest-performing urban and rural public schools. TFA’s steady growth and rising status at prestigious universities has not soothed NEA’s distress. Continue reading

Leading the Profession: NEA’s Three-Part Action Plan

7 Jan

Leading Our Profession: Dennis2Delegates

6 Jan

The following is NEA president Dennis Van Roekel’s response to the controversy that has developed over the op-ed piece he co-authored with Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp:

Hello Delegates and Happy New Year!

Thanks to many of you who have responded to my post about Leading the Profession: NEA’s Three-Point Plan for Reform and the major strategies guiding our efforts. I am deeply proud of the Association’s ongoing work in this area and encourage you to visit nea.org to read the three-point plan and other related items.

Also, I wanted to take an opportunity to respond to comments on my op-ed piece in USA Today with Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach For America. I believe leadership involves a willingness to speak with, listen to, and collaborate with a variety of people, oftentimes on issues where there may be differences of opinion. Following the call in our three-point plan to both raise the bar for entry into the profession and maintain high standards of practice in the classroom, it is more important than ever for us to work with all education stakeholders willing to collaborate with us if we are to truly improve the profession and provide a great education for our students. Continue reading

Matt Damon, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Decline NEA Education Award Nomination Over USA Today Op-Ed

5 Jan

Matt Damon and his mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, have declined a nomination for the Friend of Education award from the National Education Association’s Massachusetts arm — because of the NEA’s collaboration with Teach For America on a USA Today op-ed.

In a letter Wednesday to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Carlsson-Paige, a professor of early childhood education at Lesley University, says that she and Damon had originally planned to accept the nomination when they discussed the possibility over the summer.

But in December, Van Roekel and TFA Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp co-authored a piece in USA Today on how to improve America’s teachers.

“I have decided that because of your collaboration with TFA, it would not be wise for me or for Matt to be nominated for the Friend of Education Award,” Carlsson-Paige writes in her letter. “I regret this turn of events.” Continue reading

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