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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 03/13/2010

Obama’s contradictions on education

By Valerie Strauss

Among the 10 organizations to which President Obama donated his Nobel Prize Award are the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation, the American Indian College Fund, and the Posse Foundation.

What do those groups -- each of which is receiving $125,000 of the total $1.4 million that he received -- have in common?

They all work to help underserved populations of young people get ready to attend and be successful in college.

Obama has said repeatedly that his education goal is to make sure that every child has a quality education and the opportunity to graduate from college -- and he displayed his commitment to that with his own award money.

Yet his education policies to this point cannot ever reach this goal. Nor can they do what he promised during the presidential campaign: Stop high-stakes standardized testing from driving our public education system.

His education secretary, Arne Duncan, has, in his $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition encouraged practices in school districts that were unsuccessful in No Child Left Behind in closing the achievement gap -- including a continued obsession with high-stakes standardized tests.

But equally obscene is the way the Race to the Top has been structured. It is, quite literally, a race, a contest among states to deliver an education reform proposal that Duncan likes.

Contests have winners and losers, but in this case, the losers aren’t adults who couldn’t answer a fifth grade science question correctly. In this competition, the losers are school children in states where the adults either did not know how to play Duncan’s game, or chose not to follow his rules.

The only way that poorly performing students will ever have a chance of doing better is if public schools are equitably funded. That means that they have the same resources, the same highly qualified teachers, as the best systems in the country.

A contest with winning and losing states is by its very definition unable to accomplish what is most needed.

On March 4 Duncan named the 16 finalists in the first found of Race to the Top. In a letter he sent to states, he said: "Every state that has applied is a winner — and the biggest winners of all are the students."

Actually, Mr. Secretary, that's not right. The kids are going to lose again.

-0-

Here is the text of a statement Duncan issued on March 4, the day the first round of finalists for Race to the Top funds were announced. There were 16 of them, but Duncan made it clear that only a few would be deemed worthy.

Read this, and then tell me how this language and this approach can help America’s schools.

Duncan's statement:

Last July, I joined with President Obama to kick off the Race to the Top. This competition, which was funded through the Recovery Act with the support of Congress, put unprecedented resources — $4.35 billion dollars — on the table to reward states that are ready to dramatically re-shape America’s educational system.

We said from the beginning that we were going to set a very high bar in this competition, that we would only reward excellence, and that winning would require an all hands on deck approach to reform.

Since then, this historic program has been a catalyst for education reform across this country, prompting states to think deeply about how to improve the way we prepare our students for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace.

Forty states and the District of Columbia answered the challenge in Phase I. With their leadership, stakeholders across America sat down together, looked hard at what is and is not working, and developed bold and creative reform plans that give us great hope for the future of America.

Today I’m proud to announce that 16 applicants are advancing as finalists. The finalists are the following:

Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

These 16 applicants show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children. Each of the finalists scored over 400 points in a 500 point competition—and there was a natural break from the other 25 applicants.

Let me be very, very clear: these are not the winners of the competition. No money is being awarded today.

These 16 finalists are the best applications we received in Phase 1. Each one of them has a shot at winning, but most of them will go home as finalist s— not as winners. We will announce those winners in April.

I cannot say how many winners there will be but we are setting a high bar and we anticipate very few winners. It will be a function of the strength of the applications. I can assure everyone that there will be plenty of money left over. At most, we expect to award no more than $2 billion dollars in the first phase — and it could be considerably less.

But this isn’t just about the money. It’s about collaboration among all stakeholders — including administrators, educators, unions, parents and elected officials. It’s about building a shared agenda, and challenging ourselves to improve student learning.

That’s why every state that has applied is a winner — and the biggest winners of all are the students. Everyone who applied for Race to the Top is helping to chart the path forward for education reform in America.

I salute all of the finalists for their hard work. And I encourage non-finalists to reapply for Phase 2 in June — along with the states that did not apply in the first Phase and the finalists who ultimately do not win.

We will be giving all applicants their feedback and scores after the winners are announced in early April, and we will publish them on-line so the public can see how finalists and winners were selected. The applicants who weren’t selected as finalists today will be able to use this information to strengthen and improve their applications in Phase 2.

I very much appreciate that non-finalists will want to know their scores and read the comments from reviewers as soon as possible so that they can improve for Phase 2.

However, sharing the scoring information and comments in the middle of the competition could compromise the integrity of the process. Finalists should focus on their own applications, not analyze the scores and comments of others.

The fact that we are publishing reviewer comments and applications for all applicants represents a historic level of transparency. This competition is so intense and so important, that we want to go the extra mile and make sure everyone can see exactly how this works.

Going forward, we are very hopeful that there will be a Phase 3 competition. The President has proposed $1.35 billion in next year’s budget to continue Race to the Top and we look forward to working with Congress to make that happen.

The fact is — the demand for this funding far exceeds the supply. States and districts and other stakeholders clearly want reform. Our hope is that these bold blueprints for education reform from states all across America will all be implemented over time.

Race to the Top is a competition. Only the best proposals will win. We expect the winners to lead the way and to blaze the path for the future of school reform for years and even decades to come. They will make education reform America’s mission.

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By Valerie Strauss  | March 13, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, No Child Left Behind, President Obama, Race to the Top  
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Next: Obama and NCLB: The good--and very bad--news

Comments

Did they tell the states the criteria before the competition began?

Posted by: celestun100 | March 13, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Race to the Top guidelines instruct states to submit an acceptable plan of action (application) before funding allocation. Certain criteria and standards must be submitted.

We all know that just throwing money at problem does not work. I like the idea of individual states, esp. Maryland, establishing partnership with MSDE/legislators/ teachers/principals/community members/brd. of educations/superintendants and of course teacher unions while the Race to the Top application is being put together to be submitted in June.

I also like the idea of an application being submitted first before federal tax dollars are approved.

IMHO, that's not Obama or Duncan contradicting education. To me, the administration is making states focus on their individualized educational needs, challenges while providing solutions, including plans for technological advancements and assuring that funding (if received) is applied efficiently and effectively.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this protocol.

Posted by: PGCResident1 | March 13, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"The only way that poorly performing students will ever have a chance of doing better is if public schools are equitably funded."

Right, more money, that's the key. Just ask Kansas City.

Posted by: qaz1231 | March 13, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

This is a foolish argument. Each state was told specifically what they would have to do to be competitive for this money. The expectation wasn't that they already have a high performing student population, but rather that the system make concrete improvements in how education is delivered to these students with the expectation that this will have impact on student performance. We should not be giving extra money to failing schools that REFUSE to change their methods for the better. The race to the top money was good in that most systems applied for that money, and in the process of applying they had to make changes to their system just to be eligible to compete. So they improved their systems with or without the additional funding. Do you not see how clever that was on the part of the feds? I applaud the President and his education team. I can only imagine where we would be right now if these folks were in office 25 years ago.

Posted by: onifadee | March 13, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Money has little to do with it...it's the parents (or more commonly, parent). As long as the liberals deny the basic fact that dysfunctional families, fostered by their progressive policies, are the root of poor student performance no amount of money thrown down the educational black hole will solve the problem.

Posted by: Independent62 | March 13, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Author might want to review the Post's own archives before stating that the only problem is lack of funding:

------------------------------------------
Neighborhoods' Effect On Grades Challenged; Moving Students Out of Poor Inner Cities Yields Little, Studies of HUD Vouchers Say

[FINAL Edition]

The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Jay Mathews - Washington Post Staff Writer
Date: Aug 14, 2007
Start Page: A.2
Section: A SECTION
------------------------------------------

The bottom line was that there was no measurable improvement in poor student's performance even when they were moved, through subsidized housing vouchers, to more affluent neighborhoods with better schools.

One memorable quote from the article was from a mother that explained she wasn't surprised that her child's performance didn't improve when moved to an affluent neighborhood through the subsidized housing program...paraphrasing, she said "if a child doesn't want to learn, they won't"...completely shirking her responsibility in the matter.

Posted by: Independent62 | March 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

It is unbelievable that a group of educated DOE personnel would propose the RTTT points system, and that state education departments would agree to use such a system. Here are the general categories of the 500 point system: State Success Factors – 125 points, Standards and Assessments – 70 points, Data Systems to Support Instruction – 47 points, Great Teachers and Leaders – 138 points, Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools – 50 points, General – 55 points, and Emphasis on STEM – 15 points. First let’s assume that there is some scientific basis for this system. Then, I would be interested in the studies that say the State Success Factors should be 90.6% of the Great Teachers Factor, etc. etc. Also, the Great Teachers number looks suspicious; maybe it should be 140, or 130 or how about 263. By the way, where are the factors for ‘The Joy of Learning’ or ‘The Excitement of Discovery’? OK, the point system is not scientific it is just a figure of merit. In that case the rule is to only use numbers that can be justified in some objective manner. Now, if the data is not objective admit it is subjective, and rate each of the categories as simply good/bad (1/0) or good/average/bad (2/1/0), etc. That is, do not make the numbers reflect an accuracy not supported by the data. In that case one might say there will not be enough variation in the points to select the winners – that’s right!

Posted by: bpeterson1931 | March 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Money has little to do with it...it's the parents (or more commonly, parent). As long as the liberals deny the basic fact that dysfunctional families, fostered by their progressive policies, are the root of poor student performance no amount of money thrown down the educational black hole will solve the problem.
Posted by: Independent62 | March 13, 2010 12:47 PM
.....................................................
it's the parents

Poverty is the problem where it is common to neglect children from day one. Even the working poor have a difficulty in not neglecting their children when they are scrambling with multiple low paying jobs. Then there are numerous cases of poverty parents that have little if any knowledge of raising a child with the result that the child would be better off in a state run orphanage of the past. It is no surprise that so many children of poverty fail to learn. It is a wonder that any of them can learn at all.

To Americans likeIndependent62 this is the talk of bleeding heart liberals.

These American have no understanding that liberal thought began with the recognition that allowing the problems of the poor to be ignored simply created problems for a nation. Look at our ever growing prison population where most of the inmates come from backgrounds of poverty.

Keep on yelling "it's the parents" as more and more individuals in poverty areas are bound for the prisons and drains on the nation.

The President is just as bad with his politically correct pretense.

Poverty is a plague. You save as many as you can so that poverty does not grow. You have to stop pretending that teaching a child in a poverty area is the same as teaching a child in an middle class area. You start separating from an early age the children that can learn and the children that have been so damaged that they will never probably be able to learn. If you educate 75 percent you have decreased the growth of poverty and in the next generation you will be able to educate a higher number.

Political correctness only makes the problem worse.

But so many Americans would rather bury theirs heads in the sand and claim "it's the parents".

Posted by: bsallamack | March 13, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't follow this blog. But I will start. Because this entry sets off all sorts of alarm bells - one of the most BASIC findings in education policy in the last 20 years is that school success is really NOT about "equitable funding" of public school systems. It's much more about teachers and culture, and accountability and professionalism. Then I looked at Valerie's support for that statement - and it's to work by Linda Darling-Hammond, of all people! A shill for teachers' unions, whose statistical analyses were systematically shredded by my fellow grad students - in our first year of grad school! I'm really concerned about the lack of accuracy and nuance in the post above, and what it implies about Valerie Strauss and the Post's editorial standards. This is too important an issue to allow ignorance such a voice on its pages.

Posted by: jkreuze | March 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Arne Duncan will be held "ACCOUNTABLE" if his "Waste (Race) to the Top" fails?

If so, what should that accountability look like? We need to start holding the secretaries of Education and presidents responsible for their actions.

Posted by: jlp19 | March 13, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Arne Duncan will be held "ACCOUNTABLE" if his "Waste (Race) to the Top" fails?

If so, what should that accountability look like? We need to start holding the secretaries of Education and presidents responsible for their actions.

We will. Just wait until November!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mamoore1 | March 13, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

and you, jKrueze, sound like a member of the crew who demonized Linda Darling-Hammond when she was up for Secretary of education. Please do keeping watching this blog. I'll be watching for you watching. You better bring some evidence for your statements too, for instance, provide links to the research that says school success is "much more about teachers and culture, and accountability and professionalism" and to Darling-Hammond's schreddable data.

And to you, Valerie - thanks for ruining my week-end with that letter from Duncan. If you see Obama, tell him Duncan would be better placed in a sports tournament than as head of our schools.

Posted by: efavorite | March 13, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Teachers got change alright. It's gotten worse. Teachers, switch your voter registration from Dem. to Independent. Write your reprentatives, including Obama, and inform that you intend to stay home during the mid-term elections. A message must be sent. They'll have two years to get it together if Obama wants a second term.

Posted by: patnmi3 | March 13, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Aw c'mon, the Prez doesnt even want his daughters to attend a DC public school. Forget all the BS about Security issues, not that they dont exist, but Sidwell is known for its education curriculum, not security. Another smoke screen for the Prez for the People to hide behind.

If he really wants to show he cares about kids, bring back the school voucher program!

So underprivileged kids who would never have a chance to attend a Sidwell, Georgetown Day, Holton Arms, Episcopal, St Albans and other elite schools have the same chances, programs and opportunities he and his wife Michelle used and took great advantage of to achieve their status.

Posted by: Fred23 | March 13, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"The only way that poorly performing students will ever have a chance of doing better is if public schools are equitably funded. That means that they have the same resources, the same highly qualified teachers, as the best systems in the country."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAH!

Posted by: jcp370 | March 13, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

If we left the 50% take in taxes a big lump in the taxpayers wallets, and pulled the Fatty Fed out of the picture, tuition and donations would be paid by the private sector.

Good schools get good money and are motivated to excel.
It would also eliminate the need for student loans, because the money is already there, with no hoops to jump through, just to get some back at high intrest rates.

Big Fed is ridiuclous.

Posted by: dottydo | March 13, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse


Valerie Strauss notes that the Duncan program represents "a continued obsession with high-stakes standardized tests." In fact, it promises to make testing even more dominant than it was under NCLB.
Every article appearing in major newspapers about the standards in the last few days has mentioned that new standards will mean new tests. It is very possible that our children, already badly over-tested, will be subjected to far more standardized testing than ever before, far more than has ever been done in the history of American education.
Since the new standards will cover grades K-12, there is the possibility of required standardized tests in every grade. NCLB, heavily criticized because of the massive amount of testing it involved, required standardized tests only grades 3 through 8 and one year in high school.
We can also expect standards and tests in all subjects: The Common Core Standards Initiative FAQ document tells us that once English and math standards are completed, standards will be developed in "science and potentially additional subject areas." NCLB required tests only in English and math.
This means billions of dollars will be spent on test construction, validation, revision, etc. at a time when school are already very short of funds, when many science classes have no lab equipment, school libraries (those that are left) have few books, many school bathrooms lack toilet paper, school years are being shortened, and teachers are losing their jobs.
Do we have to test every child in every subjects every year to see how our schools are doing? When you go to the doctor, they don't take all your blood, just a sample.

Posted by: skrashen | March 13, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"The only way that poorly performing students will ever have a chance of doing better is if public schools are equitably funded. That means that they have the same resources, the same highly qualified teachers, as the best systems in the country."

Absolutely correct. It has been thoroughly documented that children of poverty suffer not from disadvantages outside of school (toxic environments, poor nutrition, inferior public libraries, lack of books in the home, etc) that strongly impact school achievement.
School does not level the playing field: It makes things worse: Schools in high poverty areas get far less funding that schools in high income areas, which results in inferior school libraries and classroom libraries, crumbling buildings, and a lack of basic supplies. Ms. Strauss is only saying that schools in high-poverty areas should get equitable funding, a very reasonable view.

To close the achievement gap, we need to close the opportunity gap. (Linda Darling-Hammond)

Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential

Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Second edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Co. and Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited


Posted by: skrashen | March 13, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

skrashen
Your comments were worth reading.

Posted by: celestun100 | March 13, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

efavorite
Too funny, but true.

Posted by: celestun100 | March 13, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

celestun100 - thanks

Skrashen - thanks for the references. Maybe they will quiet JKreuze, or inspire him to come up with his own.

Fred23 - the voucher program didn't cover tuition for fancy private schools - only for low cost parochial schools.

patmni3: "Teachers, switch your voter registration from Dem. to Independent. Write your reprentatives, including Obama, and inform that you intend to stay home during the mid-term elections. "

Good plan.


Posted by: efavorite | March 13, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

"The only way that poorly performing students will ever have a chance of doing better is if public schools are equitably funded. That means that they have the same resources, the same highly qualified teachers, as the best systems in the country."

Hmmm...like Lake Woebegon, all teachers will be above average...

Funding for schools will have to be at the federal level??? How else will you get funding to be equitably funded?? (Alabama does NOT fund at the same level as New York.)

The feds should keep out of it. What they should do is provide a program for testing that is used to measure kids in each school district so that parents (and taxpayers) have some sort of idea how their kids are doing against a national standard. The taxpayers and parents can then make a better determination how well their schools are doing and perhaps what efforts should be made...if any.

Parents are a big part of the effort..they must be involved in their children's education.

Posted by: eeterrific | March 14, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Funnily enough, I absolutely DID send an irritated email to Obama protesting Linda Darling-Hammond's apparent candidacy for the Sec of Ed position. =)

I may have been a little harsh re: Linda. But I think this New Republic article summarizes some of my objections fairly well: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/education-wars
Some of her teacher-quality research was very bad (the very definition of a conclusion searching for statistics). And her support for the garbage that is "teacher credentialing" remains infuriating today.

As to the link between academic outcomes and school funding... First, we can probably all agree that schools deserve more funding. We can definitely all agree that certain schools need more funding than others. The only point I'd make is that this is NOT what actually matters if we want to seriously improve student outcomes across the country. The evidence is strong, and at your ready disposal - every US state has increased K-12 per-pupil spending dramatically since WWII. Student achievement has remained uniformly flat. See any number of studies (E. Hanushek, i think, wrote the book on this) puzzling over the weak link between per-student spending and student achievement across states and communities.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying there's a magic elixir, or that money doesn't matter. It would be great if we had more of it! What should be clear to every reformer, though, is that the answer is not just (or even primarily) more money; what we need to change is how it is spent. And that means changing how we're preparing, supporting, and assessing our students, teachers, principals, and districts. That's a lot of good stuff to argue over.

I haven't read Linda Darling-Hammond's new book. I'm not even in the education reform business anymore. But, honestly, it sounds like more of the same old crap.

Posted by: jkreuze | March 14, 2010 4:40 AM | Report abuse

Duncan's idea is great - and challenges States to formulate plans for improvement and success.
WaPo/Valerie - your negativity is unwarranted!

Posted by: angie12106 | March 14, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Race to the Top is total BS. According to its metrics, Augusta Evans School in South Alabama is one of the 1000 worst schools in the country. Does Arne Duncan even realize that every one of this school's students is mentally retarded?!?! How can it be fairly called a bad school because the kids bomb an 8th-grade level test the state and federal governments require? Throwing all the money in the world at Augusta Evans won't raise scores, but it will certainly hurt the self-esteem of the students and the morale of the staff.

I agree with the author 100%. Divide the money equally. Schools shouldn't get more of the pie because their administrators happen to know what buzz words float Arne Duncan's boat.

Posted by: wapo101 | March 14, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Go sit at the back of many of these classrooms and watch as an instructor tries to teach. The inattention and rudeness of the students takes up a great portion of the allotted time as the instructor tries to maintain control of the class. My niece was a beginning teacher and took the arm of a child to pull her away from another child that the first child was repeatedly striking despite being told to stop. My niece was reprimanded for raising her voice at and for touching the second child. Nothing was done to that child or for the first child who was being hit. Political correctness wins again.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | March 14, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

In Texas we still call them lies.

Posted by: Imarkex | March 14, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Jkrueze, thanks for responding. The article you linked to is an opinion piece with no statistics or references to survey data.

FYI, Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Foundation, who called Darling-Hammond a “worse case scenario” in that article also gave Michelle Rhee’s credit for DCs rising NAEP scores, until it was pointed out to him, using official NAEP data, that the scores had been rising steadily long before Rhee arrived. To his credit, he added a link to NAEP when readers provided the actual data and commented on his error and his omission.
http://educationnext.org/the-one-winner-in-todays-naep-release-michelle-rhee/

Michelle Rhee is a famous distorter/manipulator of data. Here are two examples where news organizations corrected their errors on the same information about Shaw Middle School, in which Rhee inflated statistics of publicly available data:
http://learningmatters.tv/blog/on-the-newshour/michelle-rhee-in-dc-episode-10-testing-michelle-rhee/2476/comment-page-1/#comment-322
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2009/10/one_of_the_struggles_most.html

Posted by: efavorite | March 14, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

For a more complete and detailed look at Rhee’s data distortions, please see: http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/

The writer is a retired DC Math teacher who uses all publicly available data and meticulously describes his methods and sources.

Education writer Jay Mathews has named this blog as one of the best education blogs in the country.

Posted by: efavorite | March 14, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I am glad to see that my state is a finalist, but it frightens me to hear that
"These 16 finalists are the best applications we received in Phase 1."
We all know that what looks good on paper often doesn't translate into practical application.

I would like to see less so-called competition for education dollars. I don't see the names of many states in this list that I know are in desperate need. What happens to those children? Is it their fault that the leaders in their states did not put together a great application?

Accountability by states for taxpayer money is essential, but all taxpayers deserve to receive part of those dollars to help educate their children. It is only fair.

Posted by: sdl63 | March 14, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The point isn't that education will somehow be fixed only in states that get money through the competition. The point is that most stuff imposed by the education establishment has, despite rhetoric, failed, so new ideas are needed. This is a way of trying a bunch of stuff out and seeing what works. Although certainly money needs to be equalized better among districts (or spent more, at least temporarily, in the poorest districts until they get closer to the rich ones in achievement), money by itself is indeed not the issue. How it is spent is.

Posted by: Bguhl | March 14, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The traditional education crowd always finds something to complain about.

They called Bush's NCLB "too punitive".....and now that Obama rolls out a voluntary grant program (Race to the Top), they call it bribery.

Either way, I think the message that teachers and their unions have yet to absorb is this: "Fix yourselves...or somebody else will force it on you."

So far, the teachers and their unions have shown little willingness to do so.

Posted by: holzhaacker | March 14, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

What about the credibility of test results presented by the states? The facts of discrepancy between the results of state and national tests are well known. Are you going to reward those who falsify the results more and punish those who don't do it? In the beginning you said that you was going to implement computerized tests in order to know "what is really going on", but now you are silent about it. In New York we see "historic jumps" in test scores (which failed to show up on national tests) that resulted from lowering standards and cheating. The schools highly interested in money have full opportunity to falsify the results. Remove the students test papers from the schools immediately after the exams and you will see what will happen.

Posted by: ovbatyreva | March 14, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I agree with holtzhaacker who says, “I think the message that teachers and their unions have yet to absorb is this: "’Fix yourselves...or somebody else will force it on you.’"

Unfortunately, teachers’ failure to absorb this message is probably because they took false heart in this statement Obama made about school reform a year ago:

"…if we don't have teacher buy-in, if they're not enthusiastic about the reforms that we're initiating, then, ultimately, they're not going to work. So we've got to have teacher participation in developing these approaches." http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-Open-for-Questions-Town-Hall/ 3/26/09

Posted by: efavorite | March 14, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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