NPR Options in Education, “The Great Debate III”

John Merrow interviews Al Shanker and NEA Executive Director Terry Herndon. They begin by discussing discipline in schools and corporal punishment. Then, Merrow asks the union leaders about standardized tests for students and about evaluative examinations for teachers. The debate then turns to tenure. Herndon and Shanker both advocate strongly for tenure while Merrow questions its purpose. Next the leaders discuss affirmative action and quotas, especially focusing on a court case, Bakke v. Regents, University of California, in which a white student alleged discrimination because his admission was rejected in favor of less qualified minority students. The discussion also hit on the NEA's own quota system for its administration. Merrow asked if the two organizations might merge. Finally, they discussed whether the AFT was truly a national organization when Shanker is such a high profile leader in New York.

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