In a speech on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave the law “credit for exposing achievement gaps, and for requiring that we measure our efforts to improve education by looking at outcomes, rather than inputs.” Duncan called for developing better tests to monitor progress and more focus on student growth.
But the biggest problem with NCLB is that it doesn’t encourage high learning standards. In fact, it inadvertently encourages states to lower them. The net effect is that we are lying to children and parents by telling kids they are succeeding when they are not.
It’s one reason our schools produce millions of young people who aren’t completing college. They are simply not ready for college-level work when they leave high school.
. . . In my view, we should be tight on the goals – with clear standards set by states that truly prepare young people for college and careers – but we should be loose on the means for meeting those goals.
We don’t believe that local educators need a prescription for success. But they do need a common definition of success — focused on student achievement, high school graduation and college.
Duncan’s speech was a “pretty pep talk,” writes Ken DeRosa on D-Ed Reckoning. He predicts a “hodgepodge of reforms” doomed to failure.
. . . we have a system in which consumers of education get almost no choices and consolidating power at the Federal level on common standards will only reduce the few choices we have. That’s the main advantage of a competitive market — consumers get choices and everyone gets a chance to see if their crackpot theories work the way they think they will.
. . . The problem with the current education system is that the self-interest of the adults running the system is not aligned with the interests of the children being educated.
Teachers’ unions aren’t happy with the administration’s push for testing, accountability, performance pay and charter schools, reports the Washington Post. Obama’s policies are “Bush III,” said Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.