In January, the White House promised to overhaul
Bush's education law, No Child Left Behind, and implement his own education reforms
. Now President Obama is releasing
his proposals to Congress. There are a lot of great ideas
for fixing education out there. Are Obama's any good? And how will he pass them?
- What Obama Education Looks Like The New York Times' Sam Dillon reports,
"The administration would replace the law’s pass-fail school grading
system with one that would measure individual students’ academic growth
and judge schools based not on test scores alone but also on indicators
like pupil attendance, graduation rates and learning climate. And while
the proposal calls for more vigorous interventions in failing schools,
it would also reward top performers and lessen federal interference in
tens of thousands of reasonably well-run schools in the middle." It
will also soften the rigid reading and math testing requirements.
- Has Education Reform Gone Too Far? The New Republic's Diane Ravitch frets
"that the current movement to fix schools will not improve American
education. In fact, it may very well harm it." She says Obama's
reforms, like Bush's law, focus too much on testing, which skews the
incentives of schools from educating students to seeking federal money.
"Accountability pressures have also led to widespread gaming of the
system. Every so often, a cheating scandal is uncovered, but such
scandals are minor compared to the ways in which states have
manipulated the scoring of tests to produce inflated results."
- Lower Standards Make Worse Education The Boston Globe disdains
Obama's federal standards as a step down from Massachusetts standards.
"The problem is what the administration has proposed is not near the
quality of what the Commonwealth already has. [...] Ripple effects of
the common core standards would be felt throughout public education in
Massachusetts. New standards require new assessments to test mastery of
them, and that would spell the end of [the Massachusetts Comprehensive
- Set National Standards The Washington Post urges legislators to override the system of allowing states to set their own standards, touting a well-received proposal for federal education standards, which they say will make students more competitive in the job market. "Instead of the current mishmash of each state setting its own
benchmarks for student learning, the common core seeks to describe what
every child should know in English/language arts and mathematics from
kindergarten to high school graduation."
- Don't Subsidize Private Tuition E.D. Kain says
it skews the market. "Who says that all these loans and grants have
actually benefited poor students? Many private institutions already
had (and still have) their own scholarship programs for low-income
students. There was no need for government’s to subsidize their
tuition further," he writes. "All that extra federal cash simply
allowed public universities to keep
raising their tuition higher and higher and higher over the years.
That’s the thing about subsidies. The more you subsidize something, the
more expensive it becomes."
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