President Obama introduced his blueprint for Education Reform last Friday and Saturday detailing how his administration plans to move forward on reforming the latest incarnation of the ESEA Act, No Child Left Behind. Department of Education officials have described this as a scaling back of federal presence in good schools while applying strong intervention methods and strict mandates for the lowest performing schools in the country.
Education Secretary Arnie Duncan points out that this revision fixes the problem of dumbed down tests, an occurrence that was recorded in many states after the passage of NCLB by requiring each state to pass rigid and challenging standards. One of the boldest moves by President Obama is a change in how Title I federal education funds is disturbed. By asking states to compete for them through grants rather than a per pupil formula the administration is ready to change “about 40 years of established formula funding and to change an accountability system that a lot of people are wedded to because it’s forced us to come to grips with the achievement gap,” said Bob Wise a former West Virginia governor who leads the Alliance for Excellent Education, a nonprofit group
Many of its detractors, especially among union leaders, have focused on changes to teacher evaluation procedures that moves away from certifying a teacher’s credentials and focusing on new systems that distinguish effective instructors by using student progress as its foundation. Both the UFT and the NEA have publicly commented that Obama’s plan will allow unnecessary micromanagement over local school district, massive teacher firings and place 100% of the accountability on teachers with little or no power to create change in the system.
While these sides fight it out take a look for yourself by downloading the President’s plan here.