CEA has decided to concentrate our blogging efforts on a new blog, BlogCEA.org. BlogCEA offers regular updates on the latest news and information from CEA for our members, and also covers state and national education stories. Bob Murphy will continue to write posts on education policy issues and they will now be added to BlogCEA.
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We will keep More Than a Score live for the forseeable future so you can check back to read through the archives at any point. Thank you for reading!
Last week the first round of stimulus money was released and as educators we should be grateful since a large percentage of the money is ostensibly dedicated to education. As the old saying goes,however, there is no free lunch and Secretary Duncan has begun to lay out the conditions states will have to meet in order to get the second round of payouts. The good news is that this administration is willing to spend money in return for increased quality and performance of the system. The not so good news is the echoing of the same tired rhetoric we got from the Bush folks – when Margaret Spellings says she likes most of what she hears I get very nervous. (see Erik Robelen EdWeek)
So what have we learned in the past 10 days or so about where President Obama and his Secretary of Education would like to take American public education? For one thing we learned that the president is just as prone to overstating the problems as past administrations. You recall in his speech to Congress he lamented the current “crisis” in education and set a few broad goals for the future. NYU historian, Diane Ravitch, referred to these comments as Obama’s “manufactured crisis” , based on an analysis of his comments by FactCheck.org in which they revealed a number of inaccuracies:
* The high school dropout rate hasn’t “tripled in the past 30 years,” as Obama claimed. According to the Department of Education, it has actually declined by a third.
* Eighth-grade math scores haven’t “fallen” to ninth place compared with other countries. U.S. scores have climbed to that ranking from as low as 28th place in 1995.
* Obama also set a goal “of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world” by 2020. But in terms of bachelor’s degrees, we’re nearly there. The U.S. is already second only to Norway in the percentage of adults age 25 to 64 with a four-year degree, and trails by just 1 percentage point. Continue reading
Poster available here
I came across this poster today which reminded me once again why I began posting to this blog. It is difficult in the midst of this all-consuming financial crisis to remind ourselves that there continue to be larger issues yet to be resolved in the way we educate our children and the ways in which we assess the effectiveness of our teaching. The testing season is upon us once again and it comes at a time when the vast majority of school districts and classrooms are covered by a cloud of uncertainty Continue reading
Amidst criticism that he is taking on too much too soon, President Obama delivered a speech on education today to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He lamented that, “For decades, Washington has been trapped in the same stale debates that have paralysed progress and perpetuated our educational decline.” He chastised Democrats “who have resisted rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay” and Republicans for opposing “new investments in early childhood education, despite compelling evidence of its importance.” He called for longer school days and a longer school year through enhanced after school programs and summer programs.
The first pillar of his plan focuses on early care and education as seen in the dramatic increase in the commitment to Head Start in the Stimulus Bill. He is proposing an “Early Learning Challenge Grant” to raise not only access, but the quality of early childhood programs. Continue reading
I’m back after a winter respite in Vermont and Rome is still burning.
Last week the Obama administration released its first budget which it clearly regards as transformative. For education there remains a host of unanswered questions mostly related to what happens two years out when the huge increases incorporated in the stimulus package disappear. The education budget contains increases in key areas that would only be transformative when coupled with the stimulus monies. As David Hoff points out on his EdWeek blog, NCLB II, “Title I would rise to $14.5 billion—a 4.3 percent jump. That would leave a steep climb for the program to receive $25 billion in fiscal 2011.” Continue reading