Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

Finn and Petrilli: “The education of John McCain”

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“The monster: We now have a federal Department of Education meddling in schools across the land. Washington bureaucrats don’t improve them but do monitor everything from teacher qualifications to reading curricula to discipline. Yet when it comes to what matters most–expectations for student learning–NCLB allows every state to grade itself, enabling most to set low standards and play games with test results.

When it comes to global competition, President McCain would rally U.S. workers to compete worldwide without yielding to the siren song of protectionism. But here, too, NCLB is weakening our human-capital development with its low (and uneven) standards and its neglect of high-achieving students. McCain could change this by calling on governors to develop a set of common, rigorous expectations and assessments for all young Americans from Okeechobee to Walla Walla. And he could push Congress to rewrite NCLB so it focuses not just on academic stragglers but also on our savviest youngsters, too.

He could give states and communities the authority to merge all their federal funds into one flexible stream (while being held to tougher, more consistent standards for student learning).

There are plenty of other ideas worth supporting–targeted vouchers, aid for charter schools, incentives for districts to rid themselves of restrictive union contracts, and more.

Happily for him, Obama’s mushy education plan and flip-flopping on merit pay and vouchers give the Arizonan plenty of room to maneuver. Like Reagan, McCain may never make education his top priority. But by picking a few key issues and using his power effectively, he just might be an education president anyhow.”

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2008/03/4 - Posted by | Charter schools, National standards, Performance pay, Policy, US, Vouchers

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