On Cue

As predicted… Obama ed reforms with an edge are going to face an uphill fight on the Hill.  This must-read Politics K-12 post is what you might call foreshadowing…play along at home and see if you can spot the fine hand…

Update:  And, as if on cue, absolutely must-read Sawchuk with much more. 

One Reply to “On Cue”

  1. Has anyone here ever sat down with a principal and taken a look at how Title I funds get spent at the building level? Well I’ve done it many times (because this is how I get paid), and even though I’m often the beneficiary of these funds, I can tell you the whole process horrifies me.

    Title I is the greatest boondoggle in education history. On a pure dollars-for-results basis, Title I is one of the worst educational investments we make in this country.

    Case in point: me. My first job in a school was as a Title I Aide. I didn’t get paid much but I will tell you that since I knew absolutely nothing about teaching at the time that every penny I was paid was wasted. I was supposed to help 12 4th graders make progress in reading. Problem was I had no idea how to teach reading. None. Nil. Nix. Zippo. By the end of the school year, I had merely robbed 12 very sweet kids of what was probably their last chance to learn to read. Needless to say, I felt horrible about it, and I did a ton of reading over the summer, started a tutoring practice in the fall, took some pro dev courses, and got my stuff together. But Title I didn’t help me with any of that.

    Fast-forward a decade or so where I’m working with a major big city school district. This time the check is six figures, not $6 an hour. The money’s flowin’ like crazy thanks to Title I but the district that hires me doesn’t care at all what results I get as long as I don’t break any rules. And when I get results, they don’t care; they even try to tamp down the success of what I’m doing for fear of offending “traditional” teachers who aren’t participating in the program. They just wanna keep me on the same Title I budget allotment. That’s their biggest concern when the end of the year rolls around.

    Now, could Title I be helpful? Sure. But there would have to be some direct accountability for how the money was spent. In school these days, we don’t seem to get the concept of “direct” accountability. All we want is indirect accountability – the notion, for example, that millions of Title I dollars spent in a large district will be used in some way that will indirectly result in higher test scores. This does not work.

    I urge all policymakers and politicians to actually go to a school and sit down with an administrator he or she spends Title I dollars. Ask questions. Match money to results. Then ask yourself: Is it worth it? Is it responsible? Isn’t there a better way?

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