This is a guest post from Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog:
It is worth your time to read this Duncan September 2010 speech in its entirety. It is scarier than just the cradle-to-career quote. I will pull some quotes out and present them here. When you read the speech for yourself, you may find other quotes that jump out at you. These are the ones that jumped out at me.
The four assurances got their name from the requirement that each governor in the 50 states had to provide an “assurance” they would pursue reforms in these four areas, in exchange for their share of $49 billion in a Recovery Act program designed to largely stem job loss among teachers and principals.
The second assurance governors provided was in the area of data systems. The department has supported states and provided several hundred million dollars to build longitudinal data systems that measure student progress over time. More robust state data systems and a new generation of assessments can assist teachers and principals to improve their practices and tailor their instruction to students in ways that were largely unthinkable in the past.
Traditionally, the federal government in the United States has had a limited role in education policy.
We have sought to fundamentally shift the federal role so that the Department is playing a greater role in supporting reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities across the nation.
We are similarly overhauling the way the department provides technical assistance, so that it focuses on helping states build the capacity to implement programs successfully—instead of focusing on compliance monitoring, as we have done in the past. I said earlier that the United States now has an unprecedented opportunity to transform education in ways that will resonate for decades to come.
In the end, transforming education is not just about raising expectations. It has to be about creating greater capacity at all levels of the system to implement reform. It has to be about results. And that is one reason why Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, is so valuable.
But we are committed to establishing a different relationship with states–one more focused on providing tailored support to improve program outcomes.
Transformational reform especially takes time in the United States, which has more than 100,000 public schools, 49 million K-12 students, more than three million teachers, and 13,800 school districts–all of it largely administered and funded by local governments. Systemic change, in short, takes time.
The Constitution gives the power to the states for the administration and funding of education. The Federal government does not have this power. Would politicians remind Arne Duncan that the systemic change he and Obama crave is illegal? Have all the politicians on the local, state and national levels forgotten the Federal government has no right to this power?