Tag Archives: education reform

The Current School Reform Landscape

h/t to COMMON CORE: Education Without Representation

Excellent video from Christopher Tienken discussing education reform. He addresses Common Core State Standards, calling it an anti-intellectual, illogical version of “imitate and regurgitate.” We tend to agree here.


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Filed under Education Reform, National Standards (Common Core), Videos

@CatoInstitute: Gov. Romney, Federal ‘Incentives’ Mean Federal Power

Governor Romney’s education plan emerged on Wednesday, May 23rd. Governor Romney has a real opportunity to provide bold leadership on the topic of education reform, but the reality is he is going to stick to the same status quo approach of the past 40 years. Real reform involves trusting the states to make their own choices with regards to education, but the elitists in the Republican party would not dare attempt that approach. Real reform involves abolishing the Federal Department of Education, but that was once heard from that crazy, right-wing-zealot Ronald Reagan. Below is an excellent piece from Neal McCluskey over at Cato.org that we thought very worthy of cross-posting. It sums up the disappointment in the Romney education plan quite nicely.

In a speech today, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will lay out the foundations of his education platform. Based on an outline of his proposals released byEducation Week this morning, Gov. Romney seems just a little less disinterested in the Constitution — and the 40-plus years of proven federal education failure – than the man he seeks to replace. And no, calling what you want federal “incentives” neither absolves them of being unacceptable federal intrusions, nor makes them any less coercive.

The heart of what Mr. Romney wants in elementary and secondary education is federal enticements to get states to implement everything from “open-enrollment” policies for schools, to individual school “report cards,” to encouraging “talented individuals to become teachers.”

As I wrote last week, while “incentive” sounds kinda harmless, an incentive program is really all that No Child Left Behind is. No state has to do anything in NCLB. It only has to follow the law if it wants the federal money attached to it. The funding is only an incentive, but it is so big an incentive it is irresistible, even with the law being a huge millstone around the neck of American education. And, of course, taxpayers had no choice about furnishing the ducats to begin with. (Well, I suppose they were incentivized by a trip to prison…)

Where Romney’s K-12 offering is most enticing is his proposal that federal money be attached to low-income and special-needs children and made portable even to private schools. (Portable, that is, “in accordance with state guidelines,” a proviso the outline doesn’t flesh out.) But the very real threat, as with all federal funding , is federal control. What Washington funds it will regulate — though usually for political show, not efficiency or effectiveness — and that is something we should strenuously avoid for  private schools when states can implement more varied — and less regulation prone — choice mechanisms such as education tax credits. And, of course, the Constitution gives the federal government no more authority to deliver school choice than to dictate curricula. That is, except in Washington itself, and to his credit Mr. Romney is proposing to save the D.C. voucher program that Mr. Obama, for whatever shoddy reason, seems determined to suffocate.

The good news about Gov. Romney’s outline is that it directly addresses the primary problem in higher education, and one of its primary causes: insane tuition inflation fueled by massive federal student aid. Indeed, though he will no doubt get flayed for it by the higher ed establishment, who will publically deny it like so many naked emperors, Mr. Romney’s outline is refreshingly straightforward in identifying the root problem:

Governor Romney realizes that more spending will not solve the problem of tuition increases – to the contrary, it has helped fuel the problem. When Washington puts more money into student aid programs to help families and individuals pay for higher education, colleges and universities raise tuition rates.

So what grade does Mr. Romney get on education, at least from this initial outline? About a 30 percent for K-12, and a 90 percent for higher ed. That works out to 60 percent — a woeful D-minus – but that’s probably a tad bit better than most presidents would have gotten since the 1960s.

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Filed under Education Reform, Federal Department of Education

The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act

“Education reform” is kind of like a football. Whoever is in the majority in the congress can be seen as having possession of the football. Right now it’s the Republicans in the House of Representatives. And as “education reform” usually goes, the Republicans have decided that the only thing important is scoring a touchdown, in this case that means passing something that shows they do not hate children, or something.  The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act can be seen as the most recent play in that football game. We here at CTA are conservatives and believe that the Federal government ought to get out of education. Many Republicans believe this, or at least it seems they do as long as they are running for office, once they are in Washington it is “put me in coach, I’m ready to play!” Republicans claim they love the constitution, maybe for once on the issue of education they could start acting like it. Instead they come up with proposals that continue to tell the states what and how on the issue of education. See for yourself:


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My radical view of the just-released SAT data and the perpetual correlation of test scores with SES (via Granted, but…)

This is a must read article on educational assessment by backwards design guru Grant Wiggins! Mr. Wiggins concludes the post “The issue is not ‘great’ teachers or schools, just solid ones in which best practice is the norm not the exception, and where the first instinct is not to blame the kid but to blame our practices. By contrast, as long as we allow teachers to do whatever they feel most comfortable doing, in isolation, schools will in general be ineffective and SES will thus be the determining factor of achievement results in all schools. Shouldn’t we at least try this idea on for size?” Well said, sir!

It is a longstanding ugly fact in education: the child’s socio-economic status is tightly correlated with test scores. The just-released SAT data from the College Board are right there for all to see and contemplate with the telling pattern visible for the umpteenth year: for every additional 20,000 dollars in parental income, scores rise in an almost perfect linear relationship by approximately 15 points. Liberal policy-makers use such data to r … Read More

via Granted, but…

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on Education Reform

Governor Daniels speaks on education reforms in his state. Many new and good ideas here. We think it important to point out two things. First, Mr. Daniels speaks positively of Arne Duncan. No self-respecting educator should listen to this man, he knows little about education and has no experience other than a short stint as head of the entire Chicago Public School System. Second, Governor Daniels seems to be OK with the Federal Department of Education. We here at CTA are not, and no constitution loving conservative should be.


Filed under Education Reform, Videos