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WTH is going on?

The last few weeks brings the intersection of two parts of federal education policy around what the rules and expectations will come down from the DOE of the new administration AND what money will go with it. Lets start out with the policy stuff. Tom Hoffman asks, Tuttle SVC: Is “No Comment” the Best We Can Do? and shares his POV that progressive educators have missed a chance to beat the drum of progressive education by hopping on a story about the pres and first lady visiting Capital City Public Charter School, where the President said “This kind of innovative school…is an example of how all our schools should be…” He even called out Doug Noon.

Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB’s accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Support High-Quality Schools and Close Low-Performing Charter Schools:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the Federal Charter School Program to support the creation of more successful charter schools. The Obama-Biden administration will provide this expanded charter school funding only to states that improve accountability for charter schools, allow for interventions in struggling charter schools and have a clear process for closing down chronically underperforming charter schools. Obama and Biden will also prioritize supporting states that help the most successful charter schools to expand to serve more students.

First, as I have pointed out they used terms like, fill in bubbles on standardized tests that are code among test haters. What Tom and others might find interesting in light of the trip to CCPCS is that the only part about closing low-performing schools is in regards to charters.

BUT, while tea leaf reading is fun, the bottom line is money talks, and the news there is confusing/disturbing/infuriating and sometimes all three at once. I haven’t found a great way to keep up, but Education Week: Schools and the Stimulus has a page devoted to stories on the education parts of the stimulus bill. I think this short by sweet blog post sums up the “thinking” behind conservative opposition to education spending in the bill, and why it’s moronic.

…we might eventually have achieved our goal of becoming a third world country.

From the New York Times today:

Frederick Hess, an education policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized the bill as failing to include mechanisms to encourage districts to bring school budgets in line with property tax revenues, which have plunged with the bursting of the real estate bubble.

“It’s like an alcoholic at the end of the night when the bars close, and the solution is to open the bar for another hour,” Mr. Hess said.

Yes, spending on education is like spending on alcohol. If only we weren’t so addicted to education we might be a dirt poor third world country today.

I’ll leave you with those words of wisdom.

4 Responses to “WTH is going on?”

  1. Mathew says:

    A good and refreshingly optimistic analysis of what’s going on.

  2. alicemercer says:

    That budget analysis was grim. How do you feel about being compared to a controlled substance? At least he didn’t compare us to heroin!

    Hey Mathew, I hear we have a state budget deal! I don’t know if I should be excited, or throw up. I hear there is a ballot measure to deal with school spending issues. Ah the smell of sausage being made!

  3. Mathew says:

    Regarding CA state budget matters, I hope that school districts don’t take it as an excuse to avoid hard budget decisions like trimming their bloated bureaucracies just because we’re safe for now.

  4. alicemercer says:

    Well, you are at one of the biggest of school bureaucracies, aren’t you? We need to close some smaller school sites in my district (under 200 student elementary schools, etc.) The thing that gets me in my district isn’t the number of admins, but what they seem to emphasize, which is paper pushing. They are really into filling out forms. They are like the “class grind” doing all their homework, but engaging in mediocre thought on their essays. We just saw our assoc. super at the school for the first time in years.

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