Monday, June 13, 2011

Duncan to End NCLB by Executive Decree (Not)

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has pissed off Republicans by saying that he would relax NCLB requirements by executive order. Republicans are not concerned that NCLB will be going away (because it won’t). Rather, they simply don’t like Democrats or anything they do, even when they do the exact same things Republicans do. In this case, it’s a great opportunity to make the Obama Administration look soft on education.

In reality, Duncan is simply acknowledging the obvious: that contrary to its stated goals, NCLB actually increases failure and he is offering “relief” by telling states they no longer have to have 100% of their students proficient by 2015. However, everything else about the law is perfectly fine with Duncan, the Democrats and the Republicans. What they want is for Congress to “overhaul” the law, leaving intact the accountability pieces (so they can keep a careful eye on those shifty teachers) and, more importantly, the profitability pieces, so their benefactors at the publishing houses, EMOs, tutoring and curriculum companies and Wall Street can continue to loot the public education coffers. Or, better yet, come up with even more efficient ways to grab taxpayer dollars earmarked for education.

Indeed, the waivers Duncan is offering to states come with all sorts of strings designed to accelerate privatization (See Duncan to America's Public Schools, Schools Matter blog). 

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