Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Obama has given Bush a third term in education policy.”

So says Diane Ravitch, an educational historian who is critical of the No Child Left Behind act and the Obama administrations education policy.

WASHINGTON — President Obama and his team have alternated praise for the goals of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law with criticism of its weaknesses, all the while keeping their own plans for the law a bit of a mystery.

But clues are now emerging, and they suggest that the Obama administration will use a Congressional rewriting of the federal law later this year to toughen requirements on topics like teacher quality and academic standards and to intensify its focus on helping failing schools. The law’s testing requirements may evolve but will certainly not disappear. And the federal role in education policy, once a state and local matter, is likely to grow.

This is one of those grey area for me. I believe in the idea of local control of schools and I think that we would be much better off if the Dept. of Education ceased to exist. At the same time I agree that some sort of uniform standard is needed in regard to classes such as math and science.

Let's be honest. In general American educational policy and plans needs a major rewrite and I'm not sure that tweaking around the edges of NCLB, which I supported as a first step in an improvement effort, like this gets us there. I know that may sound contradictory given my statement about the Dept. of Education, and it is, but since we are stuck with them we might as well make them do something useful.
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