Not So Little Rights, But Big Wrong

In the din of swift criticism (pdf) of the proposed Harkin ESEA overhaul bill over its accountability rules – or lack thereof – it’s easy to overlook that there is some good language in the bill.  In fact, that’s the irony – the proposed bill actually reflects a lot of smart learning about policy over the past decade-plus, including some that hasn’t shown up anywhere else.

Some examples: In considering gaps it explicitly calls for averaging student achievement data over three years rather than leaving it to states to make bad decisions (yes, flexibility not always great, some of the flexibility in the 2001 law led to silly policies). It introduces “mutual consent” (meaning teachers and their school have to agree to a placement, no force-transfers) in a few places.  And it closes the comparability loophole that shortchanges poor students under Title I (though it seems that was the price of admission for Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado – a former school superintendent familiar with the inanity of that rule).  It includes language on teacher evaluations and would protect Teach For America from efforts to eliminate the program using federal regulations. It also includes good policy on special education and limiting some abuses there.  And it has a few things on teacher prep programs that – if adequately enforced – could make a difference.

But on the big question of accountability it takes the federal policy back to an approach on accountability that didn’t work in the 1990s under the 1994 Improving America’s Schools  Act, and really before that.  In other words the plane has some lovely wings and some nifty new stuff in the cockpit, it just wants for an engine.

Posted on Oct 12, 2011 @ 5:00pm

One thought on “Not So Little Rights, But Big Wrong

  1. PhillipMarlowe

    The Real Parent Trigger Law:
    Sanity Returns to Wake County School Board: Koch Candidates Crushed

    In a repudiation of the segregationist policies that have caused turmoil in Wake County, NC for the past two years, voters have returned a pro-diversity majority that we can only hope will vote to restore the most successful socioeconomic integration plan in the U. S.

    Particularly sweet to diversity and public school advocates is the crushing of Cynthia Matson, one of the original group of resegregationist loudmouths, by Jim Martin, who supports diversity. The other high point has to be the victory of Susan Evans over Board Chair and chief teabagger puppet, Ron Margiotta.

    Kevin Hill also turned back a challenge by Tea Partier, Heather Losurdo, and Christine Kushner whomped Donna Williams. Finally, popular Keith Sutton had no trouble in his race.

    Now it is to be seen how long it will take Broadie superintendent General Tata to decide to spend more time with his family.

    This is a big day for education in North Carolina.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *