I’m not kidding. It looks like Obama is proposing to spend $5 billion on the exact same “leave no child behind” type of federal legislation pushed through Congress eight years ago. He’s saying it didn’t work last time so we’re going to do basically the exact same thing again? This is out of control.
Obama’s proposal adds even more hoops, twists, requirements, and some sort of point system to the flow of federal dollars to local government schools. Remember the Kennedy/Bush No Child Left Behind Act required states to set high standards – with measurable goals – for states to receive funding.
Critics blamed President Bush – not Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass) – for creating an unfunded federal mandate program requiring states and schools systems to spend money they did not have to get money from the federal government. Teachers were said to be “teaching only to ensure students passed the test” so local schools could get federal funding.
The complicated set of incentives led schools to design creative loopholes to game the system and ensure they passed review. It was and is a mess, and the federal government should have just stayed out of it.
After the act was passed, federal funding for education ballooned. Funding for reading programs alone went from $286 million in 2001 to $1.2 billion in 2007.
From FoxNews.com today…
States and school districts will soon be able to compete for $5 billion to undertake school reforms sought by President Barack Obama.
Part of the economic stimulus law enacted earlier this year, the $5 billion fund is Obama’s big shot at overhauling schools over the next couple of years.
Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, planned to lay out how states can win the money Friday at the Education Department.
The president will use the money to prod states to toughen academic standards and find better ways to recruit and keep effective teachers. To get the money, states will also need to be able to track student performance, and they will need a plan of action to turn around failing schools.
“I am unbelievably hopeful about the level of change we can drive and the amount of reform we’re going to see,” Duncan said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.
A state will have to meet a series of conditions to earn points and boost its chances. Some of those conditions are controversial, especially among teachers’ unions, which make up an influential segment of Obama’s Democratic base.
For example, the administration says it will not award money to states that bar student performance data from being linked to teacher evaluations. Several states, including California, New York and Wisconsin, have such a prohibition.
But there are also elements the unions will embrace; states can earn points by submitting letters of support from state union leaders. …
Obamas’ goal is to completely transform the federal governments role in local education. Within years, local schools may well be completely dependent on the federal government for funding, spending more and more cash on mandates with – in my opinion – no return on the investment.
Arne Duncan noted…
“It’s amazing the amount of progress, literally, without us spending a dime,” Duncan said.
Threats and bully tactics. It’s the Chicago way don’tcha know?