Cheers for Paige

Checker Finn gives Three Cheers for Rod Paige. As Education secretary, Paige was limited by the Bush administration, Finn writes:

Paige had limited authority to pick his team and less to pick his policy targets.
 
He is, for example, a stalwart believer in the power of school choice, both to create opportunities for children and to put transformative pressure on “the system.” But (save for the new D.C. voucher project and the valiant efforts of the Department’s small “innovation and improvement” office) this has not been a choice-minded administration. Indeed, the person named yesterday to be Paige’s successor, White House policy maestro Margaret Spellings, is a standards-testing-accountability booster who can be counted upon to defend and extend the No Child Left Behind act, but who has signaled that the only way to fix American K-12 education is to lean on “the system” from above, not to empower its clients.

Paige did his best to reform teacher training and certification and special education, writes Finn.

He invested the Education Department’s skimpy discretionary dollars in boldly reformist initiatives, such as the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence. He oversaw a wholesale revamp of the Department’s research and evaluation functions, including wider use of experimental designs (even control groups!) in most federal studies.

Here are links to Paige’s speeches and statements. And here’s the president’s nomination of Spellings.

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Comments

  1. “…Margaret Spellings, is a standards-testing-accountability booster who can be counted upon to defend and extend the No Child Left Behind act, but who has signaled that the only way to fix American K-12 education is to lean on “the system” from above, not to empower its clients.”

    I assume this means that she will reduce or eliminate the “choice” teeth in NCLB. With schools screaming bloody murder about accountability and testing, and with the NAEP test so simple and below grade level, the NCLB, as pressure from above, creates only a slow (and much resisted) improvement towards a minimal goal. If she reduces the leverage of choice, then what leverage does she have left? Give the schools less money? Parental choice is the only real answer. The affluent get to choose; why not the poor? NCLB with no teeth equals the bigotry of institutionalized low expectations. Even if all schools meet good NAEP performance levels, they are still condemning students to a second-rate education. Parental choice is not about money, it’s about control, and those who have the control don’t want to give it up.

  2. Mike in Texas says:

    Rod Paige was a man who lied and cheated to make his school district appear much more successful than it really was. He parlayed that into a position of authority over all public education, which has not prospered under his watch.

    Instead of being made Secretary of Education he should have been thrown in jail in Texas as I’m sure Houston ISD was receiving funds for those kids who supposedly hadn’t dropped out (also known as stealing). For the TBF Foundation to gush over him just shows how detached from the realities of education they really are.

  3. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Rod Paige was a man who lied and cheated to make his school district appear much more successful than it really was.

    Yawn. I’m sorry but aren’t you the person who exists on a plane so elevated that hell would freeze over before you’d indulge in a personal attack?

    That means that you’ve either got some proof or you’re about to annouce a winter weather advisory for points south. Wayyy south.

    Instead of being made Secretary of Education he should have been thrown in jail in Texas as I’m sure Houston ISD was receiving funds for those kids who supposedly hadn’t dropped out (also known as stealing).

    You’re sure, are you? Well, that’s good enough for me!

    Throw the rapscallion in the hoosegow! Flog the scofflaw within an inch of his life! Stake him to an ant-hill in the noon-day sun! The absence of proof is proof enough for me!

    You know, Mike, Margaret Spellings is a strong proponent of the NCLB. Maybe you could clue us in on her personal and professional failings or you could just launch into a personal attack.

    Whichever works for you.

  4. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    I’m not familiar with Spellings but I’m not impressed with what I’ve heard; she seems to have no education background whatsoever.

    I am quite familiar with Paige as I read the Houston Chronicle. Houston ISD under Paige began reporting a 0 – 1% dropout rate, which was so ridiculously low even the state didn’t buy it. The books were seriously cooked: in fact, they were charred and singed. For this he was rewarded by Bush and he was named one of the principal architects of the “Texas Miracle” that wasn’t.

    Based on what I know from reading the story extensively, he should’ve been in jail. If you or I pulled that garbage we would be.

  5. Uchhh. I’m beginning to hate the time-out of the response page…..

    Mike in Texas wrote:

    I’m not familiar with Spellings but I’m not impressed with what I’ve heard; she seems to have no education background whatsoever.

    Read the link Joanne provided. It’s to a Christian Science Monitor story. That ought to be at least as credible as anything you’d read in the Houston Chronicle.

    Houston ISD under Paige began reporting a 0 – 1% dropout rate, which was so ridiculously low even the state didn’t buy it.

    With your attempts to misrepresent both Texas state education funding and NCLB compliance I think I won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. You’ll have to provide cites so I can debunk your claim without expending as much effort as I had to previously.

    Besides, even if you’re right about Paige, that only makes him unremarkable in public education. Remember, this is the system that doesn’t need any accountability. Just more money.

  6. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    With your attempts to misrepresent both Texas state education funding and NCLB compliance I think I won’t give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Here are some links on how I “misrepresent” Texas education funding.

    http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=2305877&nav=0s3dQwwd

    http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/state/9672543.htm?1c

    http://www.schoolfunding.info/news/litigation/9-17-04texasdecision.php3

    Please note that article mentions the state’s assertation that 55% is OK

    http://www.kcentv.com/news/c-article.php?cid=1&nid=5272

    Once again Allen, despite the fact you say it over and over again in the hope it will start to sound true, you misstated the facts. In this case, stupidly misstating facts that are easily checkable. A google search of Texas school funding brought back 954 articles. Should I post more links?