Monday, October 10, 2011

the know-nothings take aim at education...,

NYTimes | Representative Michele Bachmann promises to “turn out the lights” at the federal Education Department. Gov. Rick Perry calls it unconstitutional. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, would allow it to live but only as a drastically shrunken agency that mainly gathers statistics.

Even Mitt Romney, who in 2008 ran for president defending No Child Left Behind, the federal law that vastly expanded Washington’s role in public schools, now says, “We need to get the federal government out of education.”

For a generation, there has been loose bipartisan agreement in Washington that the federal government has a necessary role to play in the nation’s 13,600 school districts, primarily by using money to compel states to raise standards.

But the field of Republican presidential candidates has promised to unwind this legacy, arguing that education responsibilities should devolve to states and local districts, which will do a better job than Washington.

It can seem like an eon has passed since George W. Bush aspired to be the “education president.” Mr. Bush’s prized No Child Left Behind law used billions of dollars of federal aid to compel schools to raise student achievement on standardized tests.

President Obama’s own signature education initiative, Race to the Top, similarly used federal money to leverage change that many Republicans had long endorsed — charter schools and teacher evaluations that tied effectiveness in the classroom to tenure.

But now, the quest to sharply shrink government that all the Republican candidates embrace, driven by the fervor of the Tea Party, has brought a sweeping anti-federal government stance to the fore on education, as in many other areas.

The question is whether states and local districts, without Washington’s various carrots and sticks, will continue to raise academic standards and give equal opportunity to traditionally ignored student populations.

“People want government money, they want higher standards, they want greater accountability,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning education policy group, who was an education official in the Reagan administration. “None of those things in most places comes from local control.”

So far, the candidates have not been specific about what a drastically reduced federal role would look like. Education has not become a major issue, and when candidates do address it, they tend to paint the Education Department with the same broad brush used to criticize Mr. Obama for what they see as government overreach on health care, Wall Street reform and the environment.

Tom Luna, the elected superintendent of schools in Idaho, said Washington’s oversight of education is different from health care or environmental regulations. The Education Department dispenses a large share of its billions of dollars to states and local districts on the condition that they uphold two pillars of national law — that students who are economically disadvantaged and students who are disabled get extra classroom enrichment.


nanakwame said...

Yes a long time demand. And of course, supremacy have always been on its fringes. Catholics had 13 years and a man, then all you once. Now we are creating info-gathering human/computers, longer time almost 23 years old. Guess the superfluousness will have to go up, on the base line of inadapated-to-ness. It is quite interesting Doc, quite so.  

umbrarchist said...

Cheap computers and the Internet and Michael Hart have provided options which did not exist in 2000.

Who is Michael Hart?  The founder of Project Gutenberg.  Sure he founded it in 1971 but 40 years ago computers were very expensive and by 2001 there were only 3,000 works in the Project.  But now there are 36,000.  That still raises the question of how much is worth reading.  I would only recommend 25% of the science fiction.

So with cheap computers:

Coby Kyros 7015

or not quite so cheap computers:

HTC Flyer Full Review

So there is lots of free stuff to read outside of school.  And the school material is so intellectually stultifying.

A Short History of the World by H. G. Wells

All Day September  by Roger Kuykendall

Eight Keys to Eden  by Mark Clifton

Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse

Cost of Living by Sheckley Robert

Subversive  by Reynolds Mack

Black Man's Burden by Mack Reynolds

Border, Breed Nor Birth, by Dallas McCord Reynolds