This new report from CEP on state departments of education is pretty important, dare I say, it’s a must-read! When you cut through the NCLB rhetoric, what’s really happening in policy right now is authority is basically being divested from school districts toward states and a lot of responsibilities and authority is actually being driven from Washington to the states. Yet the state infrastructure is not well designed to handle a lot of this, or too much of it at all…In other words we’re driving all that authority toward a weak link in the chain but an important link. CEP’s report isn’t the final word on that, but it’s a good attempt to catalog some of the issues.
The CEP report focuses on this through the lens of NCLB, a worthy undertaking, but it’s actually a broader problem. The state agencies, for the most part, are great at doing a bunch of things we don’t necessarily want them to do or need them to do any more but not well equipped to do the performance tasks they’re increasingly asked to.