ESEA Is Our Sector’s Iran Deal, Charters And Pre-K, Teachers And Social Security, Which Candidate Has The Worst Charter Sector? In-N-Out And Teaching, Space Nerds Unite!

It’s ESEApalooza in the Senate. You can look at the various votes here. Final vote coming. [Update: It’s in the books now]. They’re already sick of education (Breaking – it’s not the top priority despite all the rhetoric). When Senator McConnell, the majority leader, decided to push for cloture earlier this week that was basically, “OK, enough of this, let’s get on to some real work,” hence the amendment deal and strong vote to move forward.

More interesting was how the accountability vote went down. The Democratic caucus was with just two exceptions unified around an amendment by Chris Murphy of Connecticut to put some minimal accountability back into the law. This is symbolically noteworthy because Connecticut was a serial offender on No Child Left Behind including an unsuccessful lawsuit against the law by then AG now United States Senator Richard Blumenthal (who supported the Murphy amendment) that included NAACP intervention – against the state! Takeaways:

– There is real fatigue around accountability. This amendment was as good as it was going to get and although it was strongly supported by key civil rights groups it was far from their ideal. They’re going to continue the fight they say.

– The NEA – they opposed the amendment  – said they were going to score the vote to hold lawmakers accountable. But that’s hard to do when the Dem caucus stays mostly unified like that. May help explain the outcome. Key civil rights groups were scoring it, too. And a lot of grumbling behind the scenes about the NEA on this one. In other words it may be more illustrative of the politics than where people actually are on the issue.

– But just like Iran this unsatisfying status quo may be the only alternative to a war that no one wants?

More here.


I’m a space nerd (and space flight doesn’t hurt our science education). I keep a signed picture of Scott Crossfield and the X-15 that he gave me in my home office, it’s that bad.

Pre-k and charter policy need to align better to serve more kids.  Be sure to check out The 74.  A lot of good stuff there.  With Friedrichs pending before the SCOTUS some survey data about what teachers think about various dues schemes ($).  Whiteboard Advisors is growing! Check out the new additions. The states the presidential candidates come from or have led have some real variance in terms of how good their charter school sector is. Enrolling all teachers in Social Security is good policy for them and good retirement policy more generally. But it costs money and the teachers unions are little help. So states come up with reasons not to do it for the 40 percent of teachers who are not in the system now.

Chad Aldeman, who kind of has that Brad Hamilton thing going on, is heavy on the high school policy beat here and here.

I recently took John Bailey and Mieka Wick to their first In-N-Out Burger. Interesting company in addition to being delicious. They take burger making more seriously than this sector takes teaching quality. Seriously, they do. At Bellwether we fantasize about opening a Tim Horton’s franchise.

7 Replies to “ESEA Is Our Sector’s Iran Deal, Charters And Pre-K, Teachers And Social Security, Which Candidate Has The Worst Charter Sector? In-N-Out And Teaching, Space Nerds Unite!”


    The civil rights community is absolutely right to insist on retaining consequences in the ESEA as a crucial part of accountability.

    We made great gains in student achievement on the NAEP in the 2000s because of consequential accountability. As Hanushek and Raymond showed so powerfully in their pioneering research, accountability without consequences is no accountability at all.

    The states have had substantial say in the past as to education policy. Apparently, they’ll have more under the new proposals.

    But, if the feds don’t at least require consequences with some clear and strong specificity, their dollars will once again be money spent with little impact. I can’t see why that would be appealing to either liberals or conservatives.

  2. Interesting. The couple’s pioneering paper was written one year after most states had implemented changes related to NCLB. In fact in Maryland during the spring of 2004, schools were administering the last round of MSPAP, which had been around 13 years at that time.
    Did the couple have a TARDIS when they researched in 2003 and finished the paper in 2004? Which Doctor did Hanushek look like- Pertwee, T Baker, Troughton?

  3. The study was done on accountability systems that were implemented in the states in the late 90s. They didn’t attempt in this study to measure any impact of NCLB, nor am I here talking specifically about NCLB.

    I’m simply making the point from their research that education policies that don’t include consequences for schools as to whether they’re making or not making achievement gains lead to lesser gains than those that do.

    Thus, in my mind, the civil rights groups are right to support the Murphy amendment. If the feds are going to continue to pour out billions of dollars to states and districts, they ought to insist upon at least reasonable consequences for achievement gains the law seeks.

  4. Thanks.
    However, the grade 3-8 testing regime of NCLB hasn’t led to NAEP gains.
    Thus, whatever was in place in the late 90s should be satisfactory.

  5. The problem there is that the big gains on the long term NAEP were from 1999-2008. Across the nation, it was flat beforehand.

    So, I wouldn’t jump to your conclusion on that.

  6. “But just like Iran this unsatisfying status quo may be the only alternative to a war that no one wants?”

    The Obama administration has made far more progress re Iran than it has on education. National educational “policy” (I use the word very loosely) has been in free fall since the Republicans took control of Congress in 2010.

  7. In education, expect the parents and teachers to have their way. Whether they are from Harvard or State U, the people who agree to be in our homes and classrooms will always prevail. If we want real improvements, we must involve the people who do the job. As for the situation right now, well, after billions of dollars, we’re back to the old pendulum swing. The children have received no “civil rights” or even a pencil, unless their teachers gave it to them.

    As for testing, it takes time and money to properly measure the progress of a child or the effectiveness of a teacher. Nothing less should be tolerated.

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