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Betsy DeVos is Technically Wrong but Practically Right: She CAN Control $$$

July 22, 2020


University of South Carolina education professor Derek Black writes that Betsy DeVos has overstepped her constitutional authority by threatening to withholding federal funds from states unless they reopen in the fall. He is technically right… BUT practically wrong…. and Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top (RTTT) provides her with a template and a precedent for doing so. As I trust Dr. Black realizes, Arne Duncan conditioned the release of federal stimulus funds to States on their development of a plan that would effectively require the adoption of a test-based accountability plan that in some way linked teacher evaluations to standardized test scores. Just as there is no scientific basis for sending children back to school during a pandemic without safeguards there was no scientific basis for using tests to “measure” student or teacher performance. That did not stop Congress from giving Arne Duncan broad authority on distribution of huge sums of money for a largely discredited method of accountability. From my perspective by sustaining the test and punish regimen for another eight years Mr. Duncan created as much psychological damage to public schools as remote learning AND by creating a precedent that gave his office the power to condition funding on State policy change he paved the way for Betsy DeVos to do the same thing.., only worse.

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