Journal Confirms "Year of School Choice"; NEA Takes Both Sides on Value-Added

Still trying to recover from the big fireworks last night, I couldn’t decide between two blogging ideas this morning. So instead I’m giving you a little bit of both. First, you just have to read today’s Wall Street Journal editorial proclaiming what I told you last week — that 2011 is indeed The Year of School Choice:

No fewer than 13 states have enacted school choice legislation in 2011, and 28 states have legislation pending. Last month alone, Louisiana enhanced its state income tax break for private school tuition; Ohio tripled the number of students eligible for school vouchers; and North Carolina passed a law letting parents of students with special needs claim a tax credit for expenses related to private school tuition and other educational services.

The Douglas County Choice Scholarship program gets a mention later on in the piece, making Colorado one of the 13 states. Isn’t that number ironic, coming right after the July 4th holiday, remembering the number of colonies that declared independence from the British crown? It could have been 14, if Pennsylvania hadn’t fumbled the ball, as the Journal points out. So make that Year of School Choice almost perfect.

The other quip I wanted to share comes from the NEA Representative Assembly. Joanne Jacobs notes that delegates approved a resolution supporting the use of value-added test scores to evaluate teacher performance — well, in theory, that is. As Education Week blogger Stephen Sawchuk ably reports, “the union’s leaders underscored that no existing standardized tests currently meet the criteria for inclusion spelled out in the policy.”

Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency delivers the punchline:

You can add this to the list of things that NEA supports, but doesn’t really believe exist – like good charter schools, Republicans who support public education, and workers who freely choose not to join a union. [link added]

Couple both pieces of news with the NEA’s deep internal conflict over an early endorsement to re-elect President Obama, and Greg Forster makes the case that the union is ready to flee in terror. Stay tuned….