If you like your federal ed policy …

If You Like Your Federal Education Policy, You Can Keep It!, writes Andy Smarick on Education Next.

The Obama Administration, certain that it knows the “right thing to do,” boldly overturns decades of policy and institutes its own vision of a brave new world. Gradually, it appears that toying around with longstanding policies and practices has all kinds of unintended consequences, including producing policy potholes, causing implementation snags, and stirring up lots of political hornets nests. The administration is then forced to bob and weave with explanations for what’s gone wrong and then attempts an oscillating variety of micro policy fixes to patch up a growing number of cracks.

He’s talking about the Education Department’s reversal of its own policy on No Child Left Behind waivers, a sign that federal “hubris on standards, testing, and accountability” has caused a mess.

Duncan “doubled-down” on central planning, responds Ze’ev Wurman in the comments. Now he’s run out of bribe money and the administration has run out of credibility.

See the way California told him to go and fly a kite when it cancelled annual testing this year. After huffing and puffing, EDs tone suddenly cooled-off when it realized it has not much power — or credibility — left.

“Hubris always gets you” in the end, he concludes.

Sociologist Aaron Pallas sees hubris in Duncan’s claim that “white suburban moms” don’t like the Common Core because it shows their kids aren’t all that smart. It was “wrong-headed and insulting,” writes Pallas on the Hechinger Report.

Keep in mind that there is no evidence that implementing the Common Core on a national scale will improve the learning outcomes of anyone’s children. The effects might be positive, but we won’t know for some time. And in the meantime, the rollout of the Common Core, and ways of assessing mastery of the standards, has been uneven and unsteady—sort of like another federally supported initiative we’ve been reading a lot about lately.

Anthony Cody is ready to give up on Common Core, he writes in Education Week Teacher. “Common standards, if crafted in a democratic process and carefully reviewed by teachers and tested in real classrooms, might well be a good idea. But the Common Core does not meet any of those conditions.”

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    Common Core was a wonderful idea as long as it was one option or model schools could select. A sure way to ruin a good idea is mandate it for everyone or coerce participation.