Parents and teachers don’t like it. For many students, it has failed to produce the promised benefits. And experts agree it urgently needs to be fixed. But as controversial as No Child Left Behind is, there is perhaps even more controversy about how to fix it, CTmirror.com reports. For some Connecticut officials, in fact, this fresh debate over federal education policy looks like a choice between bad and worse. The Obama administration in March unveiled a “Blueprint for Reform” that outlined sweeping changes to the law, including, among other things, scrapping No Child’s 2014 deadline for all public school students to reach proficiency in math and reading in favor of making them “college- and career-ready” by the time they finish high school. But critics say the White House’s proposed fix, even if it solves some issues, could also create a new set of problems. “It’s just not a good fit for Connecticut,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who sits on the House Education and Labor Committee. Courtney ticked off several problems he has with the White House proposal, starting with the administration’s move to make competitive grants a more permanent feature of federal education funding. Courtney and others fear that such a shift could translate into a significant disadvantage for Connecticut, which has more than 160 local education agencies–one for nearly every town or city in the state–instead of larger, county-wide school districts, as many other states have. “The notion that towns could engage in competitive grants” is not tenable, Courtney said. The town of Union, for example, with its 700 or so residents, would not be playing on a level field against Broward County, Fla., population 1.6 million……Read More
It is most politely written, but a 17-page framework for education reform being released July 26 by a coalition of civil rights groups amounts to a thrashing of President Obama’s education policies and offers a prescription for how to set things right, reports the Washington Post. You won’t see these sentences in the piece: “Dear President Obama, you say you believe in an equal education for all students, but you are embarking on education policies that will never achieve that goal and that can do harm to America’s school children, especially its neediest. Stop before it is too late.” But that, in other nicer words, is exactly what it says. The courteous gloss on this framework can’t cover up its angry, challenging substance. The framework’s authors start as conciliatory, applauding Obama’s goal for the United States to become a global leader in post-secondary education attainment by 2020. But quickly their intent is clear. They take apart the thinking behind the administration’s education policies, and note a number of times the differences between what Obama and Duncan say about education and what they do……Read More
Riding the coattails of a historic health care vote, the House on March 21 also passed a broad reorganization of college aid that affects millions of students and moves President Barack Obama closer to winning yet another of his top domestic policies.
The bill rewrites a four-decades-old student loan program, eliminating its reliance on private lenders and using the savings to direct $36 billion in new spending to Pell Grants for students in financial need.
In the biggest piece of education legislation since No Child Left Behind nine years ago, the bill also would provide more than $4 billion to historically black colleges and community colleges.…Read More
When it comes to education policy, President Obama is repeating the most grievous errors of his predecessor, charge a trio of venerable education policy analysts, including one—Diane Ravitch—best known for her past support of conservative positions on testing, accountability, and choice.
As Congress begins to rewrite No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Obama administration has offered its own vision for how the revised law should look, including a focus on tougher academic standards and more flexibility for schools. But a growing chorus of critics contends that too many of the administration’s policies follow the same punitive cycle of high-stakes testing and accountability ushered in under the presidency of George W. Bush—and that these policies are actually hurting students.
Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have acknowledged the need for better standards and assessments to ensure that students graduate from high school ready for college or 21st-century careers. But critics of their approach toward education reform say it continues to rely on a flawed system of high-stakes exams and accountability measures that has narrowed the curriculum, fails to take into account the various social and economic factors that influence a child’s learning, and does a disservice to those students it purports to help most.…Read More
Responding to private lenders’ lobbying efforts against White House plans for direct federal loans, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Feb. 17 that he trusts the U.S. Senate will pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) and “end this boondoggle for banks.”
Five months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed SAFRA, senators have not voted on the bill, while private lending companies have organized town-hall style meetings and aired television ads opposing the bill in several states.
In an afternoon conference call with reporters on Feb. 17, Duncan emphasized that there isn’t a “drop dead date” for passage of the direct lending legislation, and he promised that education officials are “in this for the long haul.”…Read More