Save teachers or reforms?

Last week, House Democrats led by Rep. David Obey cut $800 million from Race to the Top, charter school funding and the Teacher Incentive Fund to help pay for a $10 billion education jobs amendment to a military appropriations bill. If the Senate goes along, President Obama has threatened to veto the bill. National Journal’s Education Experts discuss saving teachers’ jobs vs. saving education reforms.

Of $100 billion in education stimulus money last year, 96 percent went to support the status quo, writes Sandy Kress, a former education adviser to President George W. Bush. Most was used to save teachers’ jobs.

There is NO proof that education has been improved by all the spending.

And, yet the forces of the status quo now want their hands on the few dollars allocated to reform, arguing that the congressionally approved reforms are “bad” reforms and that they are “unproven.” And what do they want to do with the few dollars allocated for reform? “Pray and spray” them, as the House appropriations bill would do. Any proof of the efficacy of that practice? No. None. Zero. Nada.

If the reforms “lead to sophisticated evaluation systems,” we’ll be able to use teacher performance rather than seniority in the future, writes Ted Hershberg, a public policy and history professor and director of Operation Public Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He’d like to see jobs and reform, but puts reform first.

Those who want to fund education jobs seem eager to take every last dollar from Arne Duncan’s reform programs.

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  1. Independent George says:

    Here’s a thought – why not cut both? I’m definitely in favor of fundamental school reforms, but not when it comes as a result of a federal mandate. Race to the top doesn’t do anything that can’t be done by the state governments that would actually have to implement them in the first place.


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