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”

Opponents of choice, accountability and transparency trying to make a move

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From Whitney Tilson’s blog:

“From DFER board member Diane Piche:

The NEA and the National School Boards Association – each long-time opponents of strong accountability and of parents’ rights to better choices for their children – have managed to get two of their allies in Congress to introduce legislation that would effectively nullify all the important accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind Act: school improvement, corrective action, restructuring, public school choice, and supplemental educational services (aka free tutoring). (For a good write-up, see Charlie Barone’s 6/13 post at http://www.swiftandchangeable.org/)

In a remarkable display of conviction, unity and speed, five national civil rights organizations responded with one voice, strongly urging Congress to reject the proposal: MALDEF, NAACP, National Council of LaRaza, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and CCCR. In addition, the Hispanic Education Coalition – with over two dozen member organizations – also called on Congress to recognize the bill for what it is: at attempt to allow states and school districts to keep spending federal education dollars with no accountability whatsoever.

FYI, the name of the bill is the “No Child Left Behind Recess Until Reauthorization Act” and is sponsored by Reps. Graves (R-MO) and Walz (D-MN).”

Our comment: It is particularly troubling that the National School Boards Association, which presumes to speak for parents, should promote such a bill.

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2008/06/19 - Posted by | Policy

3 Comments »

  1. NCLB skirted accountability when it created an umbrella around Title I and schools became flow-through entities for private vendors (e.g. Mark Olds and CAMST). Principals are curriculum specialists, not business people. The best fiscal safeguard was the resource teacher who managed those funds. It is not surprising that since NCLB’s enactment, we see problems within charters and public schools mostly created by over reporting student enrollments. States that no longer have whistle-blower laws protecting state employees will soon find out why public schools at one time had the lowest cases of reported fraud of any business sector. This is not the case any longer. The former superintendent of Sweetwater Union is an excellent case of how NCLB was used by a district official to ‘recapture’ Title I money. If public schools are using poor curriculum, then they are spending more money for testing, curriculum, more staff, more buildings, staff development, etc. When you multiply costs, you are multiplying opportunities for fraud and mismanagement. Poor curriculum is shaping educational policy and costing Americans 10-50 times more for an education than it should. Its not reform that I mind, its the way we go about doing it.

    Comment by Al Rode | 2008/06/19 | Reply

  2. What Republicans are calling school accountability is performance based assessment using standardized testing, this is not the same as fiscal accountability. Standardized testing has already been shown to be a useless measure of performance, since each state chooses its own achievemnt bar. What the NEA and NSBA opposes is institutional mismanagement, not outcome based assessment which is mandated by Title I.

    Comment by Al Rode | 2008/06/19 | Reply

  3. I can think of all kinds of ways that administrators are using loopholes and deceiving the public through private entities to gain public money. It is impossible for any state agency to investigate the number of private vendors who might be overreporting students – a school official has only to apply for a vendor number and begin submitting rosters of students to show they are managing a support service. Erate is an example of another program that’s been exposed for all sorts of abuse. What about a principal with a district administrator who uses district funds to visit support programs, then creates an alternative program especially tailored for their school district and convinces the school board that they should purchase it. NCLB created the loophole and the Title I Coordinator is bypassed with the School Improvement Plan. The grant coordinator does not even have to be a certified teacher. How else could Bersin and Alvarado have taken control of all the Title I funding in San Diego Unified – amongst a host of abuses, Alvarado got a free condo in Coronado and his coast-to-coast travel expenses paid for. Bersin had a budget number for his booze. So perhaps Republicans should recraft NCLB a little bit more carefully. Were these stellar reformers ever reprimanded for abusing their power? No, instead they are some of the most highly paid administrators in the United States. NCLB created black holes as far as funding of schools goes – money goes into them, but you don’t ever see it coming back.

    Comment by Al Rode | 2008/06/19 | Reply


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