GOP on the way to rewrite NCLB and Arne Duncan trying to grab for executive power! Did somebody say school vouchers ?

The plot to overhaul No Child Left Behind The Republican plan could dramatically roll back the federal role in education. By MAGGIE SEVERNS 1/2/15 5:33 AM EST Politico 

Republicans are hatching an ambitious plan to rewrite No Child Left Behind this year — one that could end up dramatically rolling back the federal role in education and trigger national blowouts over standardized tests and teacher training.

Well this is good news! 

Lobbyists swarmed Capitol Hill in December to sway lawmakers’ positions in chaotic education debates over how often to test students and what role — if any — school vouchers should have in the law. These debates are set to erupt in January, though some groups have put themselves ahead of the curve: The National Education Association, the country’s largest teacher’s union, has been pushing to roll back testing requirements for years and is seizing on recent anti-testing sentiment in the states to make a fresh case for getting rid of annual tests on Capitol Hill.

School vouchers ???? Why not ? They are less cumbersome that charter schools and finally charter schools would get real competition. But wait!!!! Charter School of Wilmington being a corporation could fold as charter school and reopen as a private school. But wait !! They can’t manage money and that’s why they never left home! Cheap rent from mommy and daddy Red Clay!

Civil rights groups say they were caught a little off guard by the sudden resurgence of debate over this aspect of NCLB. They fear Congress will strip core provisions of the law but hope that the national conversation about race sparked by recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City will help keep a spotlight on civil rights.

Little we’re talking Title 1. Markell already stripped Title 1 section 1118 in his wavier request. But don’t worry that part will be saved and the accountability clock will be reset. 

Rep. George Miller, the outgoing ranking member of the House education committee and an original author of NCLB, said he anticipates the business and civil rights communities will rein in lawmakers when it comes to keeping the law’s testing and accountability requirements.

“There’s no future for the NEA in being anti-civil rights for poor and minority children. Historically, that’s never been their position,” Miller said.

Title 1 will survive and Section 1118 will be restored to it’s fullest.

Now the draft bills released by Kline and Alexander have become starting points for next year’s NCLB push, and the White House may be forced to stake out new positions on the bill. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said the administration can’t support any bill that turns back annual tests — and some Hill watchers familiar with the department expect him to stick with that policy.

Duncan is going to get dunked in center court!

Because of congressional turnover and changing politics, some key lawmakers are undecided on big issues. The blowout controversies in NCLB actually amount to only a handful of sections in the 600-plus page law: when and how to test students, how to punish low-performing schools — if at all — and what the law should do to promote good teaching. A host of other critical provisions, like the formula used to allocate money to school districts that serve low-income children, are badly in need of updating but haven’t been touched in years.

So now perhaps we’ll see weighted funding! 

He and Kline have said they’re open to scaling back annual testing, though some suspect they’re capitalizing on the chance to grab hold of an issue they can use as a bargaining chip down the line.

There you go!! The federal legislators leading the charge on testing opt-out! 

Anti-testing advocates say tests cut into instructional time, forcing teachers to teach only tested content and taking creativity out of learning for students. They see a number of solutions: Students could be tested every other year or a handful of times throughout their school careers, or a sample of students could be tested rather than an entire class.

Wow this would be great! Random testing! 

The problem, Polikoff noted, is that these arguments for keeping tests don’t appeal to parents or the public.

For the civil rights community, collecting annual data allows parents to know how their children are doing, and to an extent, just having the data public can shame schools into doing better.

“We see this as a civil rights bill,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“I am hard-pressed to understand how you give states federal money with no strings attached,” Zirkin said.  

Give parents the right to opt-out

Even with that fast timeline, the 2016 elections will loom heavily over the debate, said Lindsay Jones, director of public policy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

“The megaphone that gets given to people who are going to run for president will be given very quickly,” Jones said. Senators who are expected to announce bids for the Republican nomination, from Rand Paul to Rob Portman, have been vocal on education in the past.

And now is the time to have a hard conversation to hammer either repealing NCLB or reauthorizing NCLB. Also a good time for a balanced budget amendment 


One response to “GOP on the way to rewrite NCLB and Arne Duncan trying to grab for executive power! Did somebody say school vouchers ?

  1. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    I love how this article didn’t touch on what is really happening with all of this, which I wrote in a comment for this:
    Let’s face facts, Arne Duncan AND President Obama have used the rigid requirements of No Child Left Behind as an impetus to introduce the corporate education reform agenda on an unsuspecting public. This has never been about improving proficiency gaps between minorities and regular students, or special needs students and regular students. It is and always has been about finding ways to punish public school districts, bust the teacher unions, and turn more public school district schools into charter schools.

    I see this playing out in my own state of Delaware at this very moment. They took six schools with low-income, high minority, and higher than average special needs populations, and designated them as “priority” schools based on standardized test scores. They forced complex and insulting demands on the two school districts involved and have used bullying tactics to force them to sign their memorandum of understanding. Our state Governor, Jack Markell, has flat-out said if the districts do not comply, he “will not hesitate” to do what he has to do, which is to turn them into charter schools. What he will not say, is the “coincidence” that all six of these schools are within a square mile in Wilmington of a structure called the Community Education Building, which was donated by Bank Of America for the sole purpose of holding more charters. Our state Department of Education has stated in emails revealed through FOIA requests, that they “want” these six schools. When ever more documents are released, I have no doubt they will show even more proof of collusion and deceit against these school districts. A decision on these six schools is expected to be rendered by Governor Markell on January 23rd.

    Common Core and standardized testing are just catalysts for this charter school movement which will results in the wealthy getting even richer through hedge funds and other investments. Meanwhile the ACLU in our state has filed a complaint against our state and one of the school districts as a charter school authorizer over enrollment tactics that have resulted in segregation in many of our schools. This is not what education should be about, and standardized testing has not proven anything long-term in regards to increased educational performance aside from how good teachers can teach to the test. No matter what happens with this bill, when the scores from the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment scores come out next summer, parents will be demanding these Common Core driven tests will disappear. If the standardized test scores disappear, so will the corporate education reform movement led by Bill Gates and other wealthy “foundations”, as the US DOE and state DOEs will not be able to use those scores to their own advantage. Hopefully by then, it will not be too late for the students and teachers who have suffered the most as a result of these corrupt policies.