How’s it going, Ed?

How’s It Going, Ed? With midterms upon us and Congress winding down, now is a good time to give Ed a first-semester grade, National Journal thinks.

How effective has the agency been in pushing the “high standards for all” that Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussed in his Senate confirmation hearing? Have Race to the Top grants caused states and superintendents to rethink their education goals? Has the agency made the best use of economic stimulus funds? If we want Ed to get an “A” at the end of the term, what does it need to accomplish in the next two years?

“Ed gets high marks for coming up with inventive ways to compel his classmates to do his bidding,” writes Kevin Welner, University of Colorado at Boulder “This has become a problem, however, because Ed’s ideas are often not well thought out.”

My hope is that Ed will soon buckle down and start learning about what research shows to be best practices (see The Obama Education Blueprint).

If Ed wants a better grade, he should stop gazing out the window, entranced by each new shiny object he sees. Ed has also spent way too much time outside of class, wandering the halls and fawning over anyone who looks like s/he has some power over his grade.

It’s hard to grade group projects, complains Checker Finn of Fordham.

ED surely deserves honors marks for Race to the Top and for its ESEA/NCLB “blueprint”. They are over-reaching, however, when it comes to school turnarounds and innovation. They’re far too willing to play along with Democrats on Capitol Hill on no-strings bail-outs for state and local school budgets. Their civil rights stance is misguided. And I’ve got serious misgivings about much of their approach to higher education.

The Education Department is good at pushing, but weak on results, writes Steve Peha of Teaching That Makes Sense.

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