Clips – What’s Plan C Anyway?, Plus Klein, SFC, And Wolverines!

Arne Duncan tells The Times that he’s starting to think about a big package of No Child Left Behind waivers (called “plan B”) because Congress isn’t acting. Ignore the overheated rhetoric neither the lack of action on NCLB or the waivers on the horizon are a big surprise.

Two distinct issues here though: Turf and policy.  There is always some opposition to a move like this because even though the law clearly gives Duncan (and his predecessors who used waivers as well) the authority to make a variety of waivers, and waivers are pretty commonplace in a host of policy domains, Congress doesn’t like being preempted – and there is, of course, a natural tension between two co-equal branches of government.  But there are also a host of policy issues at play in this specific instance.  All NCLB waivers are not created equal and this DFER blog post for a few months ago is well-worth checking out for more on that. Bottom line: A lot of the obvious stuff has already been waived or rendered moot by other changes and there is a disconnect between the rhetoric and the facts on the ground (eg #s of schools not making “adequate yearly progress” was only 38 percent last year, hardly an unreasonable number), so the administration is going to find itself performing a real high wire act here to balance political pressure with maintaining a focus on accountability for underserved students.

In the WaPo Joel Klein rolls up changing personnel and a changing ethos in public education. The nut:

So what drives this new generation of reformers? In contrast to the unions, bureaucrats and other predictable apologists for the failed status quo, they believe our schools can do a whole lot better than they are doing, especially for poor kids growing up in challenged families. Sure, educating children from difficult circumstances is often much harder, but the notion that schools can get much better results with those same kids than they’re now generally getting is no longer a matter of abstract debate. It’s now established fact.

Chicago Trib looks at the backstory on the passage of the recent reform legislation in Illinois. (Disc – Highlights SFC, a Bellwether client).

And I’d like to be able to report that the new American Educator is 100 percent Finland free, but of course it’s not.*  Still well worth checking out this issue – a couple of great articles.

*Update: Wolverine fans are already sending emails that it’s not U of M free, rather it’s loaded up.

12 Replies to “Clips – What’s Plan C Anyway?, Plus Klein, SFC, And Wolverines!”

  1. As is with most that the Post prints, the best comes from reading the comments.
    And according, Mr. Klein faulty facts are logic are appropriately shredded.

  2. Best comment:

    Actually the reformers are the new status quo and what they have in common is a growing realization that none of their so-called reforms have resulted in higher student achievement – not merit pay, not teaching to the test, not reconstituting schools, not putting all the burden for learning on teachers, not union-busting and not charter schools – except for ones like KIPP that rely on good old-fashioned practices like long hours, strict discipline, parental commitment and kicking out kids who don’t comply.

    Reformers are the new status quo for adhering to a stupidly narrow and totally unsupported “no excuses” mantra that points only to teachers as controlling student achievement. I challenge them to completely turn over their own children’s education to teachers: no more family trips to museums or foreign countries, no more bedtime reading, no more discussing events of the day or teaching kids manners. No more monitoring their internet usage or the kids they hang around with, no more words of admonition or encouragement and certainly no more attending school functions or teacher meetings.

    See how your own kids and their teachers thrive in this “no excuses” environment and then let’s talk about your notion of reform.

  3. So the “best comment” is a poorly thought out temper tantrum. Have fun in the kiddie pool.

  4. “best comment” would have been better if it had made reference to “opposite day” or “I’m rubber and you’re glue”

  5. It would be the kiddie ool, as unlike yours, my has no P in it.

    But go on, fantasize that quitters like Miss Rhee, Mr. Klein, and Mr. Brizzard will have the poor and minorities at the top of the world with their reform ideas.

    Then take another piss in your pool.

  6. Philipmarlowe: I think the comment you quoted (above) makes a lot of sense. In the real world, putting all the blame and pressure on teachers, who themselves often have little control over their curriculum, discipline policies and course assignments (while ignoring parents, peers and the students themselves) is a silly approach to education reform, and (as the commenter noted) is not going to work.

  7. My has no idea what you are talking about. Would it make more sense if had it translated from Gungan?

    Here on “Earth” I’ve never heard anyone fantasizing about making poor students the top of the world, but literate would be a great start. Also, Rhee lasted about the average length for an urban super, and Klein 3 to 4 times as long.

    Klein btw had his free and reduced lunch kids outscore 8 statewide averages for all kids in 2009 on the NAEP 4th grade reading test. My has a link here so yousa can looksa it up for your selfsa:

  8. From Venus, With Love

    Well I besa thanksa zas forsa linksa.

    (You usually type in a racist dialect?)

    You seem to have limited notions of the capabilities of poor children, wishing they were only literate.
    Why can’t a poor child receive an education and go on a design an engineering miracle.
    My dad did, first child of parents with a partial high school (circa 1920s) to go to college.

    Thank you attorney DC.

    Maybe reactionariesaresexiylikeLadyGaGa is a preRhee DCPS graduate?

  9. Literacy is a precondition for the things you describe and thus a “great start.” For a engineering miracle maker, you would likely need to be at the Advanced level of math achievement as well.

    If you use the link I provided earlier, you’ll find that the percentages of low-income Black and Hispanic students scoring Advanced on 12th grade math is near zero and near zero, respectively. The percentages scoring Proficient, which NAEP considers solid grade level achievement, is a mere 4 and 8 percent respectively.

    You can defend this status-quo if you choose, just don’t expect to be taken seriously.

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