The Washington Post just started a series of articles on President Obama’s achievements in office and this one deals with education. Here are some clips and comments.
In 31 / 2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.
Yep, and bypassing states to offer school districts money directly so they could be tied to federal strings.
He awarded billions of dollars in stimulus funding to states that agreed to promote charter schools, use student test scores to evaluate teachers and embrace other administration-backed policies. And he has effectively rewritten No Child Left Behind, the federal law passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, by excusing states from its requirements if they adopt his measures.
Yep, adopt “his measures” and get out of NCLB. His measures = adopt Common Core.
Under Obama’s framework, teachers with weak ratings tied to student achievement could lose their jobs, while high ratings could mean bigger paychecks.
Hmmm, I wonder what the ratings system will be? Could it be the one piloting right now in Denver where teachers need to teach students social justice?
Obama was able to propel change two ways. With states clamoring for relief from No Child Left Behind, and Congress stalled five years over reauthorizing it, the president forged ahead with his agenda rather than waiting for Congress to act.
A.K.A. violating the supreme law of the land and getting away with it.
He used his authority to issue waivers from No Child Left Behind to 33 states.
Where exactly did he get that authority again? Last I checked (and it was fairly recently) the president didn’t have a lot of authority, and education wasn’t on the short list of things he was empowered to control.
The administration also leveraged $4.3 billion in stimulus money that Congress approved for education, creating a series of competitive grants known as Race to the Top, pumping to a new level this type of award. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, federal officials dangled the stimulus money to persuade struggling states to make big policy shifts.
Yea, persuade states like MA who were doing great to drop their standards.
“They’ve pioneered it,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative research group. “Making states compete for a limited pot of money and awarding it to the most serious state is pretty unusual.”
Most serious? MA got turned down for RTTT money in round 1 and only changed their application to show they would adopt Common Core’s lower standards and suddenly they got federal funds in round 2.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan likes to point out that Race to the Top funding represents less than 1 percent of the $500 billion spent in this country annually for elementary and high school education, but that it has had an outsized impact.
That’s the power of money and federal strings. Give a little, and own it.
With 33 states excused from No Child Left Behind and six other waivers pending, more than half the country is now adhering to the administration’s educational policies, rather than those formed by Congress.
Doesn’t this concern anyone?
While Republicans on Capitol Hill endorse much of the Obama education agenda, they say Duncan has overstepped his authority.
“We shouldn’t allow one person to decide the priorities in education and what the policies in education are,” Kline said. “That’s way, way too much power in one person.”
Amen. Now try to rein it in…
Unanswered is whether the Obama policies will boost achievement and graduation rates or better prepare students for colleges and careers.
None of the top-performing countries against which the United States is frequently compared — in an unflattering light — use any of the techniques advocated by Obama. Finland, which leads the world in student achievement, has no merit pay or standardized tests except for a national exam that all students take at age 16. Instead, Finnish teachers write the tests to measure their students’ progress.
A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that common standards won’t necessarily improve student performance. And the idea that merit pay leads to better teaching is not backed up by research.
Lets not let a thing like “it’s not being done in top-performing countries” stop a quality takeover by the feds.