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Thu Apr 9, 2015, 06:58 AM

Senate Proposal Cuts Off Duncan at the Knees

There are other less incendiary articles, but I chose to post this one here simply because the idea of cutting Arne off at the knees satisfies a visceral need. I hope people will call their reps to urge support for "The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015."


Suck It, Arne

That "Hands off, feds" attitude runs throughout the bill. State plans are acceptable unless proven naught by the USED, and the feds only have 90 days to do so. The Secretary must approve a state plan within the 90 days unless the department "can present substantial evidence that clearly demonstrates that such State plan does not meet the bill's requirements." To whom will such evidence be presented? A peer review board composed of "experts and practitioners with school-level and classroom experience."

Yes, unlike the waiver system that requires state bureaucrats to bow and scrape for Duncan's official okey-dokey, now the secretary must go before actual educators and prove to their satisfaction that a state plan is not acceptable. And if they say it's not, the state still gets to appeal and resubmit. This strikes me a huge shift of the balance of power.

Also, "the bill affirms that states decide what academic standards they will adopt, without interference from Washington." The feds can't mandate a set of standards, and they can't "incentivize" one, either. "States will be free to decide what academic standards they will maintain in their states."

And! The bill does away with any federal requirement for states to develop and implement a teacher evaluation system. It even axes the definition of a highly qualified teacher.


http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2015/04/senate-proposal-cuts-duncan-off-at-knees.html?m=1

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Senate Proposal Cuts Off Duncan at the Knees (Original post)
LWolf Apr 2015 OP
mopinko Apr 2015 #1
LWolf Apr 2015 #2
mopinko Apr 2015 #3
LWolf Apr 2015 #4
mopinko Apr 2015 #5
LWolf Apr 2015 #7
Igel Apr 2015 #6

Response to LWolf (Original post)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 09:47 AM

1. you think this-

A peer review board composed of "experts and practitioners with school-level and classroom experience."

is a good thing?
out of these bozos?

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Response to mopinko (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 07:22 PM

2. I think school-level and classroom experience,

and plenty of it, is essential to any fundamental positive change in education.

Which bozos are you referring to?

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Response to LWolf (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 9, 2015, 10:02 PM

3. states rights.

so, texas can just stick to their made up history? alabama can go on teaching kids about "the war of northern aggression"? we can finally become a science hating christian nation?

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Response to mopinko (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 07:15 AM

4. Like they don't do that now?

The changes in this bill strengthen state control over accountability systems...standards and testing. Of course, states already HAVE choices about what standards and tests they adopt; this just removes the federal ability to tie funding to one set of standards and tests, and returns accountability to the state level. That leaves each state to mobilize, contacting state officials about what direction a state will take.

It's true that my state is more likely to go in a positive direction than, say, Texas. Of course, that's democracy; citizens elect the people who are making up history. That's what that majority wants, or what they THINK they want. It's kind of a vicious cycle. It happens at the local level as well, with school boards making policies that may or may not be best practices for learning, for intellectual development, or for social justice. I'd prefer to see school boards be made up of educators, and state-level policy makers be the same. But that's me. My union is encouraging retired teachers to do just that: run for school boards. I hope we begin to make some progress. Especially in states like those you reference.

In my state, my union has developed and is promoting what they call "A New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Empower Meaningful Student Learning." It's a start. It's still tied to meeting high-stakes mandates, though. If this bill passes, I think we'd be able to move away from those high-stakes, and return testing to one part, and a lesser part, of informing instruction.

It's not a perfect bill, of course. It STRENGTHENS Charter School programs...I'd like to see charter schools go away completely, so I'm not really excited about this part. (Title V.)

It's interesting that I see the opportunity to undo the damage that federal mandates have caused, and you see the opportunity for damage at the state level...damage that is already occurring anyway. I think it's easier to mobilize and pressure at the state level than it is at the federal. A productive recourse would be for parents and other community members to get behind teachers', and their unions', efforts.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 09:25 AM

5. and they plan to keep on doing it, which is what this is about.

i agree about high stakes testing, but i think we need metrics of some kind.

and i think charter school teachers need to unionize.

but we have one of the worst teacher's unions here in the ctu. it is IMPOSSIBLE to fire a teacher here. anyone removed from the classroom keeps their jobs by showing up to "the rubber room", sits around all day, and still keeps their pay and seniority. so this particular union can go pound sand.

you are allowed to do what you are doing now. i dont see the problem.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 07:00 PM

7. That's not what this is about.

The reform movement has been about devaluing the teaching profession, privatizing education, and creating a large pool of cheap labor and cannon fodder.

Removing the ability of the feds to tie funding to such reform "efforts" is the first step in pushing back.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 10, 2015, 06:17 PM

6. Don't confuse standards with accountability.

They're different things. Currently there's just about zero "accountability" for what the ed standards say must be taught.

However, to qualify for funding standardized tests have to be weighted very strongly in a lot of ways. Texas got a waiver for some aspects of its system--mostly because a lot of schools can't make AYP because of their changing demographics but also many of the remaining schools can't make AYP because the premise behind NCLB, that you can achieve 100% results, is simply asinine.

In return for the waiver Texas is being told that standardized test scores must be a significant part of how teachers are evaluated. We know there's a raft of factors more important than teachers. But we can't blame them because they're "not in our control". Mostly that means that "if we say what's really up, we'll lose elections--bond issues, school board seats, votes for the state legislature or executive, votes for the federal legislature or executive branch." In a democracy, supposedly the electorate has the power, and politicians and advocates that are all about "speaking truth to power" don't dare speak truth to that power.

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