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Mercedes has been closely following the evolution of the Congressional debate about the future of federal aid to education. She became one of the few people in the world to read every line of the Senate proposal, which she gave a “close reading.” In this post, she leans on a comment by Laura Chapman.
She know the final product won’t please everyone. Everyone has a different idea about how it should be revised.
The least desirable path is to leave the NCLB-‘Race to the Top as is. It is a harmful, toxic brew that kills education and crushes the joy of learning.
Our goal must be to fight off the intrusion of uninformed politicians who know nothing about schooling but assume it is their duty to tell teachers what and how to teach, and how to evaluate teachers. It would be useful to have a good summary of the research about charters and vouchers to demonstrate that their record of success is slender and that they damage more schools (and children) than they save.
In a perfect world, Congress would limit its education program to things that it can do–and do well:
1) distributing money to the neediest schools
2) protecting the civil rights of teachers and students
3) making sure that federal funds go to students who need them most.
How did we get into this mess of believing that the U.S. Department of Education has the knowledge, wisdom, experience, and foresight to create a single template of standards, curriculum, standards, professional development, teacher evaluation, and assessment to guide the nation’ s millions of children and teachers? It does not. That is a fantasy. Here is a fresh idea: evidence-based policy-making. Field trials. Or how about the simple recognition that teachers are not the sole cause of students test scores. Or how about the startling idea that every child does not progress at the same time and in the same way?
There is a simple axiom that our parents taught us: Stick to what you know.