Early college needs to be free

High school students will be guaranteed no-cost access to “early college” classes under the Pathways to College program, which is part of the Harkin-Enzi bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  While some Asian-American students have very high college enrollment and graduation rates, other subgroups, such as Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, are struggling and should be included in the college completion agenda, a new report argues.

Harkin-Enzi advances

The bipartisan Harkin-Enzi bill to rewrite No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) made it out of committee with all the Democrats and three Republicans on board.

Credit Arne Duncan’s waivers for motivating the senators to take action, writes Mike Petrilli on Flypaper. The Dems seem willing to vote for anything, he writes. The Republicans, notably Sen. Lamar Alexander, a former U.S. Education secretary, will have lots of clout.

“Civil rights groups and lefty reformers are getting rolled,” he concludes. Federally enforced accountability has lost political support. 

Petrilli thinks Harkin-Enzi is better than NCLB. Like Alexander Russo, I’m not so sure the states will hold schools accountable for educating all students. Duncan said the bill should include accountability, but didn’t fight for it — at least not in public — notes Russo. 

. . .  are they just hoping that this all falls apart on the Senate floor and in the House so that they can do the waiver thing?   

Meanwhile, President Obama’s plan to fund teachers’ (and public safety officers’) jobs died in the Senate when two Democrats and Independent Joe Lieberman sided with Republicans.

Harkin-Enzi: Threat or menace?

No bill at all is better than the revised version of the Harkin-Enzi bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka No Child Left Behind), writes Kevin Carey on The Quick and the Ed. The draft version would have required states to “implement some kind of legitimate multiple-measure process for evaluating teacher effectiveness” and ensure that low-income and minority students aren’t “disproportionately taught by ineffective teachers, as identified by the evaluation system.”  That’s gone now, in response to demands by school boards, principals and teachers, notes Anne Hyslop.

The Harkin-Enzi bill to  is a “hodgepodge of half-baked ideas” that should be rejected by progressives and conservatives, writes Mike Petrilli on Flypaper. But he likes the revised version better than the original, calling the equitable distribution of teachers rule “a Fairyland provision.”

(Republicans should) scrap the bill and start over — with Senator Alexander’s proposal as the jumping-off point. It’s a much stronger bill, closer in many ways to the Administration’s own Blueprint, and much more serious about re-calibrating the federal role in education.

While Rick Hess also prefers Sen. Lamar Alexander’s ESEA bills, he sees Harkin-Enzi as a workable bipartisan proposal that limits burdensome federal regulations.  Here’s his opinion on the revisions.

Alexander has endorsed the revised version of Harkin-Enzi, notes Politics K-12.  The National Education Association likes it.  But Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants to require teacher evaluation.

It’s not all bad, writes RiShawn Biddle on Dropout Nation. But it’s mostly bad. Harkin-Enzi, Alexander and Duncan’s waivers all give up on education reform, he argues.

There’s little enthusiasm for Harkin-Enzi in National Journal’s debate. It weakens accountability too much for the reformers and not enough for the No Child haters.

I predict stalemate.