Couple of takeaways from the guidance.
First, as the go-to Bushie for Road to Paigeascus conversions on ed issues, Petrilli is posturing. Federalism is hardly threatened here and in many ways a lot of this looks like the various “super ed-flex” and performance agreement ideas that conservatives were touting during the debate over No Child Left Behind. Besides, states can choose not to compete. And although they have to do a few things in this proposed set of regs, they’re pretty much left to their own devices about how. In fact, that’s the problem. When left to their own devices they tend to come up lame as the recent differentiated consequences pilot amply illustrated.
Although the draft regs would exclude states that have a prohibition on linking student and teacher data at the individual level, very few states have an outright ban. The problem, is that according to the Data Quality Campaign only 21 states (pdf) can make such a linkage but fewer than a handful actually do anything with it. That said, as the astute Michele McNeil pointed out yesterday, two states that do have bans are NY and CA…not exactly bit players. Still, less than meets the eye.
Don’t miss the definitions of student achievement and effective teachers and principals. That’s the first salvo in what’s likely to be a long debate at the federal level as we shift from credentialing based on paper credentials to some definition of effectiveness.
The charter school language is interesting. It’s not just about caps but about states that have practices that effectively preclude charter schools from opening. That’s good, because some states have charter laws, no caps, but the laws are basically faux laws because of how they work. Maryland, Virginia, etc…fall in this category. If the department holds the line there it will prove to be an important way to differentiate.
And overall that’s the big takeaway. If the Dep’t can hold the line on this so that they can genuinely delineate amongst the states, keep the regs from getting watered down, and only give awards to states that are serious, and make some tough calls they’ll have something important here. But that’s going to be a big lift and it’s going to be made harder – substantively and politically – by not taking a firmer line on some things up front in the regs.
Here’s NEA president Dennis Van Roekel in today’s WaPo:
“We’re absolutely in sync with where they’re going,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. Van Roekel said performance pay, charter schools and links between student and teacher data raise difficult issues for his union. On the data issue, Van Roekel said he told Duncan: “This is going to be a tough one for us.”
That quote is self-contradictory nonsense. it’s akin to saying they’re on board with Dunan’s “moon shot” except for the parts about rockets, rocket fuel, astronauts, engineers, and mission control…To be fair, the NEA can’t support a lot of this because its at odds with their own member-derived policy positions, but it’s silly to pretend otherwise.
And you’re hearing a lot of that sentiment…we’re with you on the goals but…
A few interesting states to keep an eye on: CO, DE, LA…