NEA, the larger of the nation’s two teacher unions, never ceases to surprise.

In December 2011, Dennis Van Roekel co-authored an article in USA Today with Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, expressing their agreement on how to improve the preparation of teachers. Needless to say, the article provoked outrage among some NEA members, especially those who rightly see TFA as a placement agency for inexperienced, ill-trained youngsters who provide staff for a growing number on non-union schools.

Now NEA has announced a new partnership with the Gates-funded Teach Plus, which advocates for the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers. Its model is Colorado’s SB 191, one of the nation’s harshest laws, where student test scores count for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. Bear in mind that evaluating teachers by the scores of their students has been shown by researchers to be inaccurate and to punish teachers whose classes include the neediest students. See here and here, for example.

Mercedes Schneider here explains why Teach Plus is a strange bedfellow for NEA.

She assumes that the teachers’ union wanted “a seat at the table” by aligning with an organization that is deeply embedded in the corporate reform movement. She warns that the union and experienced teachers will be “at the table,” but they will not have a seat. They will be on the serving platter.