Obama Anounces Education Overhaul

From the New York Times:

The Obama administration on Saturday called for a broad overhaul of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, proposing to reshape divisive provisions that encouraged instructors to teach to tests, narrowed the curriculum, and labeled one in three American schools as failing.

Wow, that’s some pretty unbiased journalism right there. Ignore the fact that the bill was written by Ted Kennedy, bring up the “teach to the test” nonsense, and blame the bill for the fact that America’s schools are failing.

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.

Attendance? They’re going to rate schools on attendance? And what is “learning climate”? A school that can’t educate its students can pass if it has a sufficiently appropriate “climate”?

Interesting that less government interference in schools is seen as a good thing here.

In addition, President Obama would replace the law’s requirement that every American child reach proficiency in reading and math, which administration officials have called utopian, with a new national target that could prove equally elusive: that all students should graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.

So, it’s utopian to require children to reach minimun proficiency in reading and math? I’m also just wondering – how can students be prepared for college and a career if they don’t meet minimum proficiency in reading and math?

The Politico covers the story as well.

Obama’s proposal would toss out the core of the Bush-era law, which calls for across-the-board proficiency from all students in reading and math by 2014, and instead emphasize revamped assessment tools that link teacher evaluations to student progress, and a goal of having students career and college ready upon graduation.

Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have called the 2014 goal unreasonable, and have said that it led to watered-down standards. Instead, his blueprint calls for a new goal of career and college readiness for all graduating high school students by 2020.

<snip>

The blueprint is “not only a plan to renovate a flawed law, but also an outline for a re-envisioned federal role in education,” Obama writes in the introduction to the 45-page document released Saturday evening.

Oh, now it makes sense. I doubt any of the standards make any difference – the real goal here is to increase federal involvement in education. This was one of the principal objection I had to No Child Left Behind in the first place – the federal government has no business being involved in education. But then again, when have constitutional restrictions mattered to progressives?

The Hill also reports on the story.

Melissa Jessup at Townhall has commentary.

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