Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners—an alumnus of the Obama administration—considers it an abdication of responsibility, especially considering the billion a year the feds spend on our schools via the Title I program.
His colleague Anne Hyslop goes even further, saying it “eviscerates the federal role.” I strongly suspect that these folks are going to lose the argument, mostly because Alexander is committed to getting the federal government out from under its current role as the “national school board,” as he often puts it.
In fact, top-down accountability rarely works to turn around the worst schools.
But there’s a silver lining, because there’s something else that is actually working better.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) imposed, federally, standards for what children had to know in reading and math and definitions for whether schools or teachers were succeeding or failing.
Race to the Top is a competitive grant program, but the secretary of education has used it to essentially mandate that the 46 applicant states, along with the District of Columbia, adopt Common Core standards and tests for their students in reading and math.
It maintains the requirement that states have strong standards and high-quality tests, but doesn’t write them for the states.
We call it “Every Child Ready for College or Career.” Our plan emphasizes state and local decision-making.It takes Washington out of the business of deciding whether local schools are succeeding or failing, freeing all schools from meeting NCLB’s “Adequate Yearly Progress” mandate.It rejects the federal mandates that effectively created a national school board, prohibiting the secretary of education from prescribing standards or accountability systems for states.Before I get to that, let me pause to define some terms, because they are important., as I see it, refers to measuring student performance regularly—annually is how we’ve been going about it, and should continue doing—and making the results available to the public, as well as to educators and policy leaders.