Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Change We Can't Believe In

For Education Chief, Stimulus Means Power and Risk

Mr. Duncan said he intended to reward school districts, charter schools and nonprofit organizations that had demonstrated success at raising student achievement — “islands of excellence,” he called them. Programs that tie teacher pay to classroom performance will most likely receive money...

The bill sets aside $5 billion of that to reward states, districts and schools for setting high standards and narrowing achievement gaps between poor and affluent students. The law lets Mr. Duncan decide which states deserve awards and which programs merit special financing.

NY Times

What does this say about the ideological underpinnings of the education aspect of the stimulus spending package in an area many of us actually know something about? (Imagine what else lurks in the parts of the plan we don't know much about). Can't you see Duncan funneling money to his buddies Michele Rhee and Joel Klein who will use it to create more useless data? And he WILL buy the Tweed phony stats about rising scores and grad rates because he engaged in the same game in Chicago. One thing we know. An enormous opportunity to test the impact of class size reduction in at least pockets of various urban areas will never see the light of day.


  1. This is awful news. So many people were hoping the money would help retain teachers.

    Does anyone know of anyone Obama listens to who can reason with him on this? I feel like he doesn't KNOW ANYTHING about education so he's going with the best rated person by some industry rating service. Why have Linda Darling Hammond on your transition team and then go this way? I feel like he doesn't actually engage with the education issue on any level. He's engaged with Health Care because he knows a simple, cost-effective way to do it. And he's looking at the two kind of in the same way, except that he happened into a good health plan in the Senate and not a good education plan here. And no reporter asks him about education, so it doesn't matter to anyone around him.

    What about Chicago does he think is working? Had he ever said anything? Either the national media have to pick this up or someone closer to him has to reach him. He sounds like someone who has read the critics who are popular and therefore sees and likes the show for their reasons.

  2. Oh Please. Duncan is holding teachers accountable for the progress of our children's education. Throwing money at failing schools hasn't helped yet, why would this time be any different. They need help for sure, but not monetarily. I'm glad money will be linked to performance.

  3. To Floraine:
    Let's not miss the point here. Obama is fully lined up with these guys on education.

    To Derek
    I've been involved in urban education as a teacher and writer since 1967 and never have I seen them throw money at so-called failing schools - a term I'd like you to define, by the way. And as head of education in Chicago, how well did Duncan do despite firing hordes of teachers? For a 27 year old student residing in Maine as far from what's going on in urban school systems as possible, your comment smacks of someone who reads Joel Klein press releases.

  4. Dereck, wake up and do some research. BloomKlein are inflating scores in the public schools. Why do you think that the SAT Reading score of senior students in NY was 435. These students are heading for to college to take so many remedial courses. WHAT GOOD IS THAT?

  5. Norm,

    I know he's fully lined up, but I don't know why. I know he likes the word, "accountability" but this seems out of character with the person who also wants to spend on infrastructure and who posts stories about people losing jobs after tens of years of experience on the website dedicated to the stimulus package. I still don't think he reads past the first paragraph from these guys. At this point, what besides hiring a PAC to talk to Obama could teachers do to change his direction? Would it be worth it? Could we pool funds together to get directly to him.

  6. Alarm clocks just went off ! 100% Inclusion was just implemented by Rhee reform in many schools. It may be a good "IDEA" to ensure the services to the child are provided ! Another policy driven by an unrealistic expectation that money will be saved ? When does NCLB finally sink to the bottom of the sea ?


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