Posts Tagged ‘RTTT’

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

July 22, 2020 Comments off

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.

US Public Schools Do NOT Need Any More Advice from Duncan or Spellings

June 14, 2020 Comments off

This Axios article decries the lack of leadership coming from Washington DC in response to the impact of the pandemic on public schools and champions the work being done by (gulp) Arne Duncan and Margaret Spellings to fill the leadership gap. I could write a long screed on why this is a horrible idea… but the reality is that as architects of NCLB and RTTT Spellings and Duncan DID provide leadership and direction to the States and consequently to ALL public schools: pass the standardized tests or make way for privatization. This direction drove us to a place where most schools are now identified as “failing” and nothing has been changed since they were in charge in terms of economic or racial justice. Worse, NCLB and RTTT set the stage for Betsy DeVos to make a compelling case for vouchers, bringing a fringe idea into the mainstream. The only way out of the ditch we’ve driven into is a new and different vehicle , a much clearer roadmap, and a destination that can be reached by ALL students.

Peter Greene’s Offers Clear Explanation of DeVos’ End Run

May 29, 2020 Comments off

In this Forbes article education writer Peter Greene offers a clear explanation of Betsy DeVos’ decision to allocate Title One funds to private and parochial schools in a fashion that robs from the poorest children and gives to the more affluent.

In the article Mr. Greene makes the same point I made in an earlier post: DeVos is essentially doing the same thing as Arne Duncan. Whereas Mr. Duncan used 4.5 billion to leverage changes that reinforced NCLB’a test and punish paradigm, Ms. DeVos has over three times as much to funnel funds to parochial schools. But UNLIKE Mr. Duncan case, Congress placed a constraint on how funds could be used, requiring that they be allocated by the Title One formula that sends more funds to underfunded schools. Ms. DeVos, however, read the law differently, claiming that they should be distributed to ALL schools on a per capita basis. As Mr. Greene notes in his concluding paragraph, this is clearly unfair:

Supporters of the DeVos view have argued that some of the private and religious schools serve some students from low-income families. But that’s beside the point—no one is arguing that the private and religious schools should be ignored entirely, and the law is clear that they should receive relief funds for the Title I students they serve. The question is whether or not the law should perform a reverse Robin Hood to serve even the most wealthy and privileged private school students.

But with bigger problems than the misappropriation of funds for poor children facing them and a AG who will do the bidding of the libertarian wing of the GOP I do not expect much to change… especially given the precedent set by the Obama administration.