The outgoing leader of the San Diego Unified teachers union helped spur teachers unions from across the country this weekend to declare “no confidence” in the guidelines for Race to the Top, a competition between states for stimulus money that emphasizes linking teacher evaluations to test scores.

Labor leaders from across the country gathered last week in New Orleans for a conference that lasts through today. They represent the National Education Association, one of two major teachers unions nationwide.

Race to the Top proved to be one of the touchiest topics. Camille Zombro, president of the San Diego Education Association, cosponsored the controversial resolution calling for “no confidence” in the competition, along with the head of the Buffalo teachers union, who authored it.

Stephen Sawchuk from Education Week does a nice job summing up what the resolution means:

It was a symbolic slam on the Obama administration. But as with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s keynote speech, it stopped short of actually calling out the U.S. president, a supporter of the program. And the debate over the item provided the clearest picture yet of both the internal and external difficulties the NEA faces pushing against an education agenda promoted by a Democratic administration, rather than a Republican one.

It isn’t a big surprise that Zombro would back this resolution: San Diego Unified has veered away from many of the Obama Administration plans for education reform, unlike other school districts across the country, where some teachers unions have signed on to Race to the Top applications.

— EMILY ALPERT

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