Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA

The following is a statement by Lindsey M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman that they asked me to post.  I have not yet had a chance to think carefully about ESEA re-authorization, but I think their views are worth consideration:

Reauthorizing ESEA: The road to effective education is paved with local control and parent power

Lindsey M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman

In reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2015, Congress should restore the power of state and local governmental authorities. The law as it currently reads has centralized education and moved decision-making to a large and ever-growing federal bureaucracy — far from the schools most students attend.

The current drafts, both the Senate and the House versions, do not return authority to the states and localities or empower parents.  The ESEA has evolved from what was described at the outset in 1965 as a measure to help children from low-income families into an instrument of testing mandates and federal control of public K-12 education and, increasingly, of private education as well. The road to effective education is paved with local control and parent power.

We need to reauthorize ESEA in a way that empowers parents and moves authority back to local communities and the state laboratories of democracy where it belongs. Moreover, the reauthorization should abandon the ill-considered idea planted in the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibility Waivers that our high schools are simply college-prep factories. Instead, the reauthorization should return to the previous widely accepted idea that high schools should prepare young people for American citizenship and to fulfill their individual potential as they see fit. Toward that end, high schools should be permitted to establish several sets of challenging academic standards rather than a single set of standards that purport to deliver self-proclaimed (but actually meaningless) “college-readiness.” Similarly, instead of federal regulations that require that the testing “tail” wag the curriculum “dog,” communities and charter schools must be able to select reliable assessments that align with their locally established curriculum.

Recent attempts to provide better educational opportunities to low-income children through one-size-fits-all requirements and increased federal testing mandates in the various versions of ESEA since its inception have met with little success.  As education researcher Helen Ladd concluded in her comments on a 2010 Brookings Institution paper by Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob:

“… First, the null findings for reading indicate to me that to the extent that higher reading scores are an important goal for the country, NCLB is clearly not the right approach. That raises the obvious follow-up question: what is?…

“[T]he suggestive evidence that I have included here on Massachusetts [indicates] that states may be in a better position to promote student achievement than the federal government.”

The 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act should restore power to states and localities by allowing states, school districts, and charter schools to opt out fully and completely from the programs and regulations of ESEA, currently reauthorized as No Child Left Behind. When they opt out, states, local school districts, and charter schools would formally and publicly explain the accountability measures that they would use to assure that federal dollars improve the K-12 education of disadvantaged children. They would also provide the rationale that supports these measures.

States and local authorities would thereby be in a position to direct federal dollars to their students’ most pressing education needs. By this we mean that the 2015 reauthorization should follow the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) approach, which has been offered in previous years.

In addition, the 2015 reauthorization should:

  1. Eliminate mandates, including, but not limited to: Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), federal prescription of annual grade-level testing for each student, the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) mandate, and maintenance of effort (MOE) regulations. The reauthorized act should not require a single statewide set of standards or assessments in each state, nor approval or review of any state or local district or charter school standards or assessments by the U.S. Department of Education. It should instead allow states, local school districts and charters the choice of what grades and subjects to test, and the number of tests, letting them choose from among a wide range of state-approved standards and aligned valid and reliable tests. Those states that believe annual grade-level testing in specified subjects of each student doesn’t improve student learning could drop it, while those states who believe such testing makes their state more competitive and is useful for teacher and school accountability could keep it. They should provide parents and taxpayers with reasons for their choice. Eliminating the prescriptive and ineffective Highly Qualified Teacher mandate would put states instead in a position to improve teacher quality by requiring teachers to demonstrate content mastery of the subject matter they teach, instead of having to use false measures of effectiveness, such as paper credentials and licensure. 
  1. Eliminate programs and, correspondingly, eliminate the spending tied to those programs. The reauthorization bill should eliminate the competitive grant programs that have accumulated over the years (some 60 programs) and cut appropriations for those programs to zero. The proliferation of competitive grant programs is one of the primary means by which Washington has increased its intervention in local school policy over the decades.
  1. Make Title I money portable. Any reauthorization of ESEA should provide states the option to make their Title I dollars portable to follow students to any public or private school of choice. This idea has been fleshed-out by the Brookings Institution’s Russ Whitehurst. Writing in EducationNext magazine, Whitehurst suggested:

Rather than the complicated federal schemes under which funds are currently disbursed to districts, funds should be attached to the student. Individual schools would receive federal funds based on student counts, with a weighting formula to adjust for factors such as the increased burden of educating high-need students and for regional differences in costs. Sometimes called “backpack funding,” weighted funding that follows the student has been shown to direct proportionally more funds to schools that serve needy students than traditional distribution schemes.

Portability of Title I funding, however, does not mean federal mandates should also be portable. Specifically, portability must not be used to extend federal or state standards and testing mandates to any private school that receives funds under the act. Such an extension must be prohibited by specific language in ESEA.

  1. Strengthen prohibitions against national standards and tests. So long as federal K-12 competitive grant programs, conditional waivers, and conditional grants-in-aid exist, the federal education bureaucracy will have trouble resisting the temptation to dictate curriculum content. Despite prohibitions already existing in three federal statutes against meddling in curriculum, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education incentivized states to adopt curriculum-content standards (the Common Core), and they funded national tests designed to secure those content standards in place.

Language in any reauthorization should underscore that the federal government is prohibited from directing curricula, and should further ensure that the federal government may not condition or award preferences in federal grants or contracts to states that adopt any particular academic content standards, tests or curricula, including but not limited to the Common Core standards.

With specific regard to the proposal put forward by Sen. Lamar Alexander, entitled the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015 (a title problematic in and of itself as it continues the notion that high schools are little more than college-prep or career factories), the proposal includes language that runs counter to the goal of restoring state and local control of education. It includes, for example, an assurance that states have “state standards aligned with entrance requirements, without the need for academic remediation, for an institution of higher education in the State.” This assurance needs to be eliminated.

Additionally, to allow for multiple standards and assessments, the language included in the draft that state assessments “are the same academic assessments used to measure the achievement of all students;” also needs to be eliminated. If the same assessment must be used for all students in the state, there is no possibility of multiple assessments. Moreover, if the authors are serious about restoring state and local control of education, there can be no peer review process of state plans dictated from the federal level, as the current proposal requires. There must also be no federal directives on what local report cards should look like, as the current proposal also contains.

The proposal should also go further in prohibiting the collection of individual student data from the state or other entities. It should also prohibit the federal collection of individual student data from states, contractors, and grantees and prohibit the Secretary of Education from possessing individual student data. All language mandating the content of local report cards should be removed. Parents must be empowered to shape the kind of information they want the teachers they hire and pay for to give them. Report cards are part of local accountability, which must be retained.

Above all, any reauthorization of ESEA should take meaningful steps toward curtailing federal overreach into local school policy. Reauthorization should roll back the host of programs and mandates that burden states and local boards, and allow states, school districts and charter schools to opt out completely, and allow school policy to be set at the local level. For the sake of our children and the future liberty of our country, we need to restore local control of education.


Lindsey M. Burke is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, Williamson M. Evers is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a former U.S. assistant secretary of education for planning, evaluation, and policy development, Theodor Rebarber is CEO of AccountabilityWorks, Sandra Stotsky is professor emerita in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Ze’ev Wurman is a former senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education. This article reflects our views individually, not necessarily the views of our organizations.

32 Responses to Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA

  1. Robin says:

    The concept of the states as “laboratories of democracy” is straight out of progressive phraseology 101. Given that the accreditors have moved in many states to strip locally elected school boards of much of their power and the passage of federal legislation last July that binds states and locales in K-12 education under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act–WIOA, this “shift to states and locales” is an illusion. spells out how this is all looking like a synthesis known as progressive federalism. I am no fan of that ESEA Rewrite, but this is not an effective solution either while the accreditation companies retain both their veto powers and ability to mandate poison delivery via Orwellian-named Quality Standards.

    Thedor Rebarber’s name was not familiar to me, but what AccountabilityWorks is interested in reminds me of Chugach and its performance standards. Is that where this is all going to “close the achievement gap”?

  2. Mark Dynarski says:

    As an approach to limit the federal role, this will work. The approach amounts to ‘Here’s billions of dollars, please do something responsible with it. We know you can.’

    Yet why spend any Federal money? If states and local districts really want to spend more, they already have authority to raise taxes to spend more.

    If we are going to have a Federal role, we need a mechanism to inform taxpayers that their money is well spent. Some complain that test scores are narrow and using them invites undesirable behaviors. Fine: suggest your own measures, ones that are transparent and allow comparisons across schools and districts. My guess is that efforts to identify other measures will end up back at test scores.

    • stephenwv says:

      The “federal money” is money they have already taken from the taxpayers in the states. Take less (LOL) or give it back (of course after taking the Federal Dept. of Ed. Bureaucrat hacks’ portion out).

  3. Paul Hoss says:

    There are so many problems with this statement, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Did you all have lunch recently with Diane Ravitch? Local control is your answer? Perhaps, if local officials were all adequately and equitably informed on what needs to be done; but Nirvana exists only in peoples’ minds, not reality.

    “The road to effective education is paved with local control and parent power.” Local control and parent power are what we had prior to NCLB. How did that work? Were our most disadvantaged youngsters best served under this arrangement? Really? In any state this is a recipe for the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. Translation, a disaster leaving our most disadvantaged districts and individuals getting short shrift – yet again.

    From Evers and Wurman I can understand this approach, but Sandra, you? While the locals from Newton or Duxbury, Massachusetts will undoubtedly flourish with such a prescription, how, exactly, will youngsters from Detroit, the Bronx, Watts, Chicago, or most urban districts fare?

    • j135cooper says:

      The problem lies in little or no oversight on expenditures of federal and/or state funds. What is one day’s headline usually never translate in helping children. Children are now a commodity and big business trading on the stock market is having a field day. And politicians are allowing this to happen by turning a blind eye.

      One prime example is how Los Angeles Unified just spent $1Billion on iPads while they have homeless children sleeping on the streets at night. Until someone kicks out administrators who make back room deals with taxpayer funds, children in urban districts will never benefit from the school based funding. LAUSD is being investigated by the FBI, but LAUSD has no problem with continued misuse of public funds.

      But if one breaks up this LAUSD monopoly, then perhaps there will be more transparency for parents and communities so that the funding is spent in the right way.

      CA has a clause for school districts to have local control. We have the legal right to enforce local control, until someone changes the CA Constitution.

      The community and teachers together should make sure that the administrators are putting the funds where they belong–in the classroom. Not in the pockets of big business.
      Education has become big business and children are now a commodity.

    • stephenwv says:

      Big central government control is always a wonderful solution since the progressives know what is best for everyone. As Dr. Gruber points out , the people are just too stupid to see and must be lied to and deceived. All the funds the central government (federal and state) siphons off to the bureaucrats before it reaches those that are supposed to benefit, are better left with the local communities.
      Apparently Hoss believes white privilege can make good decisions but doesn’t trust that residents of urban districts are smart enough and need the nanny state, as Dr. Ben Carson points out, to keep them on the liberal plantation.

    • David says:

      Indeed the most disadvantaged are doing worse than others in the current system. Since home environment and genetic endowment differ, this is not surprising. We spend plenty on each child’s education. We tend to spend more in inner cities, so already we are taxing the suburbs to support those schools.

      Now you want to try a new scheme. Since some youth aren’t looking good on the existing standards (which are nevertheless reasonable targets) you propose to change up the standards to something else that everyone can meet.

      Do you know that this would produce better educated kids even among the disadvantaged? They would “succeed” in school but still not know much academic content. And as for the current good students, you would distract them with a lot of busy work to keep them from getting too far ahead.

  4. Sandra Stotsky says:

    I am identifying other measures here–measures that reflect teaching and learning at the local level–with accountability to parents, the people who matter. If federal accountability measures have little or no relationship to learning, then they need to be dumped, along with the federal funding that has more likely damaged the education of low-income kids than helped it.

    Wherein Lies Accountability? Not Where ESEA Thinks.

    One major issue bedeviling this country is how to improve the education of low-income students without torturing them with an endless barrage of tests mandated by the federal or state government that have little to do with learning. The limited imaginations of policy makers at the federal and state level have led them into a cul-de-sac known as testing, testing, and more damn testing in the name of accountability. No one in 1914 expected the Great War in the early part of the 20th century to end up as a futile trench war, with little to show for a growing mound of corpses except an account of inches gained and lost shifting daily. Similarly, no one expected the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 to end in little else but a series of grade-by-grade tests with little connection to how students learn.

    Instead of furthering the education of low-income students, ESEA has morphed into an instrument for removing teaching and teachers from the classrooms of all students. See, for example, the recent article on using Common Core math coaches in place of or to guide classroom teachers ( without any research evidence that mathematical specialists are effective. (None was located by the Task Group on Teachers and Teacher Education for the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s final report in 2008). In fact, there is no research evidence that “mathematical specialists” know more math than the teachers they’ve replaced or coach.

    Surely it is time to recognize the madness that ESEA policy has become, and the damage that good intentions have inflicted on low-income students. They are no better off today than they were 30 years ago, despite all the Title I money that has been showered on their schools ostensibly for their benefit.
    As economist and education researcher Helen Ladd concluded in her comments on a 2010 Brookings Institution paper by Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob titled The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Students, Teachers, and Schools:
    “… First, the null findings for reading indicate to me that to the extent that higher reading scores are an important goal for the country, NCLB is clearly not the right approach. That raises the obvious follow-up question: what is?…
    The fact is that neither Congress nor the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) knows what will improve the education of low-income students on a national scale. Yet, Senator Lamar Alexander and Representative John Kline, now writing new language for a re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, still think that the USDE can mandate improved learning in low-income students by continuing to use state departments of education as conduits for federally mandated grade-by-grade tests in specific subjects. Not only have grade-by-grade tests in specific subjects not been effective in reading, there’s also no reason to think that national or state tests unrelated to the conditions for teaching and learning in the classroom can compel learning at all, never mind “deeper” learning.

    As one of the architects of the “Massachusetts education miracle,” I can affirm that a number of factors strengthened the education of all students in Massachusetts. There is nothing to suggest that any one of them played a more prominent role than any other—only that, together, first-rate content-oriented standards, teacher-vetted test items on state tests based on those standards, revised educator licensing regulations, revised or new teacher licensure tests, strong academic criteria for professional development, and unspecified features of teacher/student interactions in the classroom all contributed to the enduring gains of Bay State students on national (NAEP) and international (TIMSS) tests from 2005 on—in English language arts, mathematics, and science.

    Why the deep-seated belief that grade-by-grade testing stimulates student learning and is the right mechanism for accountability? State and federal policy makers long ago decided that in exchange for taxpayers’ money, accountability should be sought from the schools (or their administrators), as in NCLB, and then from the teachers in them, as in RttT, in the form of student scores on these tests. However, no systematic nation-wide evidence has emerged that holding school administrators or teachers accountable for student scores on state or national tests has advanced the education of any group of students. Indeed, no other country has ever sought to make anyone but students themselves accountable for their own scores on school tests.

    What has been completely missing from the national dialogue on ESEA and the testing regime that NCLB introduced and that Common Core and RttT expanded is a discussion of how accountability worked for the hundreds of years preceding NCLB. After all, local taxpayers, mainly through property taxes, continue to be the major financial support of their local public schools since the states were colonies or territories. Most of them must have thought they were getting their money’s worth. Employers could easily see what literacy and numeracy skills their employees had if they had graduated from local schools, and colleges could easily see what literacy and numeracy skills freshmen brought to their freshman classes. But could parents tell what their children were learning during the school year and from grade to grade?

    Actually, they could easily find out. They could look at the homework and test papers their children brought home, with the teacher’s comments and grades on them. These were signals of the learning that was expected, and if parents thought too much or too little was expected, they could complain to the teacher, principal, superintendent, or their elected school board. Even more revealing were the essays their children brought home in high school showing their teacher’s comments on student efforts to organize their thoughts in coherent and well-developed pieces of writing—the best indications of what they were learning and of their growth in rational thinking.

    Homework and test papers with teachers’ comments on student strengths and weaknesses were connections between testing and learning. But the kinds of tests mandated by ESEA in the name of “accountability” and the other policies distant policy makers have required often in the name of “objectivity” have almost completely banished the kinds of tests and feedback that served as instruments of learning and true accountability. Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad (Euripedes). Today they insist on one test after another on a computer, with no feedback possible for student or parent.

  5. Sandra Stotsky says:

    Paul Hoss, Mark Dynarski, and others;
    It is time to ask if all the testing done in the name of ESEA has improved the education of low-income kids. Read the 2010 Dee and Thomas article, and Helen Ladd’s comments. No change in reading for over 30 years. This does not sound like an endorsement of testing, testing, and more testing. What we are now getting under Common Core is the abandonment of the public schools all across the country. (Homeschooling is increasing by leaps and bounds.) And what is taking place in the public schools according to observant parents is not education. So why continue down a failed pathway. We need a national dialogue on what might be tried that stands a chance of working.

    Yes, we had local control And in most communities it worked–for most kids. Maybe we need to think about other approaches for low-income kids. Mandated testing of all kids, with tighter screws, isn’t working. Why is federal or state-standardized testing the only solution? Are there no others?

    I explained why in MA there were a number of factors that conceivably contributed to improved teaching. Common Core’s standards writers, Duncan, Gates, Fordham have NEVER been interested in learning what a combination of factors might do. Has anyone ever asked ME? I vas dere, Charlie. Surely, there should be a national dialogue before this faux-empowerment of local control and parents in the name of a revised ESEA is ever sent to the floor of Congress for a vote.

    Why is no one willing to examine assumptions and premises?

    • Robin says:

      Sandra-I can honestly say I examine assumptions and premises on a daily basis and tease them into minute detail. Are you concerned that this local control vision, apart from the valid points, I raised above, is precisely the vision Ted Sizer laid out in <i<The Red Pencil in 2004 as the way to finally achieve John Dewey’s vision of progressive education?

      It is dangerous not to acknowledge there is now a legal and political doctrine called polyphonic federalism and K-12 education is given as the leading example of the desired ‘stew’. It even uses the same “states as laboratories of democracy” hype.

  6. […] M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman was posted on Jay P. Greene’s Blog.  It is reposted here with […]

  7. […] M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman was posted on Jay P. Greene’s Blog.  It is reposted here with […]

  8. Bill Jackson says:

    I have the same question as Mark Dynarski. If this is going to be the approach, why should the Federal government provide any funds to states to support the education of low-income children? As he wrote, “The approach amounts to ‘Here’s billions of dollars, please do something responsible with it. We know you can.’”

  9. Sandra Stotsky says:

    I’m not sure my first reply to Bill Jackson got through. But after 50 years of little or no progress, isn’t it time to ask if testing is the right form of accountability or if there might be other ways that would show improved learning in low-income kids?

    • Mark Dynarski says:

      The statement does not ask if testing is the right form of accountability. It dismisses it. Which makes sense if evidence that local control has been shown to be more effective at both accountability (ensuring tax dollars are well spent) and at efficiency (ensuring students learn more under local control). Nothing in the statement is about evidence.

      And misreading evidence definitely doesn’t help. The Dee-Jacob paper does not show there were no reading gains in the accountability era. These clearly happened. NAEP trend reading scores for nine-year olds went from 218 in 1992, the onset of the test accountability era, to 229 in 2012 for white students, about a grade-level gain. The gains were much larger for black and Hispanic students. They went up by 21 points and 16 points. Math also went up.

      Dee and Jacob asked whether gains from states having to up their accountability to meet NCLB requirements were larger than gains in states that already met the requirements. They were able to show statistically that math gains could be traced to upping accountability but reading gains could not. This does not mean there were no reading gains; there were, as just noted. Their finding could be explained by late implementers not gaining much more than early implementers. Their paper says this.

      That statistical methods have limits when trying to measure effects of huge national policy shifts is not a basis for concluding there are zero gains.

      There might be other ways to improve education for low-income kids. That accountability has disappointed the authors of the statement is not an argument that local control is one of those ways. What are the premises and assumptions, and, yes, evidence, that point to local control improving education?

      • Sandra Stotsky says:

        The question about testing as the best form of accountability is clearly there in my comments, and I later cite Helen Ladd’s statement to support the query for other forms of accountability.

        As education researcher Helen Ladd concluded in her comments on a 2010 Brookings Institution paper by Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob:

        “… First, the null findings for reading indicate to me that to the extent that higher reading scores are an important goal for the country, NCLB is clearly not the right approach. That raises the obvious follow-up question: what is?…”

        “[T]he suggestive evidence that I have included here on Massachusetts [indicates] that states may be in a better position to promote student achievement than the federal government.”

        Mark, you have provided evidence on grade 4 (9 year olds). By high school, the gains seem to have washed out. Shouldn’t that be noted? Ladd apparently noticed it.

        To raise questions about testing as the major and only form of accountability does not require providing evidence that local control is better. It is legitimate to raise questions about the benefits of federal and state testing without showing something else is better. Is it politically incorrect to suggest that testing may be doing harm to low-income students and the schools in general?

        Nor do researchers have to be defensive about the topic. Years ago, testing may have seemed like the right answer for accountability. Today, after 50 years, there is little evidence that it is the right answer. So, maybe the whole issue needs to be rethought. Why not?

      • Sandra Stotsky says:

        This is not the best time for a reading lesson, but “if there might be other ways that would show improved learning in low-income kids?” certainly does get at evidence. I just didn’t use the word explicitly.
        Maybe there are many other ways? Who knows? But the questions about the benefits of grade-by-grade federal and state testing and the use of test scores for accountability are legitimate to raise in a free society.

  10. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

    Yes, but I wish to fully eliminate the Federal Government from all aspects of education. All.

    To the First Amendment, after the word religion, add these two words before the comma, “or education”. The wall of separation between education and state needs to be even higher and firmer than between religion and state.

    • David says:

      Ordinary reading of the words would have one believe that’s already covered by the 9th and 10th Amendments. What more could the framers have done but try to think of every specific the federal government was NOT supposed to do?

      And they thought (or would reasonably have thought) they had disabled schemes like taxing state citizens and giving back thru targeted block grants, via the prohibition on direct taxes.

      What we need to do is clear out all these ridiculous interpretations. But maybe it’s 150 years too late for that.

  11. […] is a statement by a group of conservative policy analysts, critiquing Republican efforts to rewrite No Child Left […]

  12. […] Stotsky, Blog on February 10, 2015.   Completely revise or sunset […]

    • Mark Dynarski says:

      You replied that “This is not the best time for a reading lesson, but “if there might be other ways that would show improved learning in low-income kids?” certainly does get at evidence. I just didn’t use the word explicitly.’

      I think I am reading the statement correctly. My point is that evidence is supposed to inform the statement, not your explanation of it. ‘Implicit’ evidence is an oxymoron. If the group has evidence that local control is superior for achieving higher levels of educational performance, let’s hear about it. It needs to show that local control has larger effects than what’s been shown to be effects of NCLB.

      Citing Massachusetts as an example is problematic. The group mentioned no approach that gets other states to do what Massachusetts did. Suppose states go in the other direction, toward softer standards, lower rigor of assessments, and inequitable education that thwarts black, Hispanic, and special-education students. I don’t see how the group’s position prevents that.

  13. Sandra Stotsky says:

    You are right that nothing can prevent local citizens from behaving like fools when it comes to educational policies, Local school boards are known to be prone to foolish ideas long before Mark Twain came up with his famous saying (First God created idiots, then he created school boards. Or maybe it was the other way around). But that is the price one pays for self-government. It’s better than having unreachable bureaucrats issuing damaging diktats with no easy way for parents to change them or get out from under them.

    Massachusetts showed that improvement in all students was possible, something few other states wanted to emulate at the time. Nor did Bill Gates, for reasons best known to him and Arne Duncan. But at least the model and the evidence are out there. The co-authors of the Heritage blog would not mandate even what MA did–knowing how successful the state was–because it is a matter of self-government at the state level (also known as federalism).

    But many states now are aware of the options they could choose from, that ESEA wants to preclude (Alexander’s intentions are easy to discern–state DoEs that gave most states/schools lousy standards to begin with are precisely the entity to present the state Plan in an application for Title I money). So I now spend time explaining to state legislators how they can set up a process, if they want, that guarantees the possibility of first-rate standards and tests. That’s all one can do in a free society. But I trust elected officials to be more humane than the USDE, which has shown nothing but contempt for the parents of the kids they want to test ad nauseam.

  14. […] representatives from different conservative think tanks put their heads together and developed a collective reaction to the repeal of NCLB advanced by Lamar Alexander and asked blogger Jay P.Greene to post it. The […]

    • Sandra Stotsky says:

      From an AIR report on Title I expenditures in 1999.

      “Paraprofessionals were widely used for teaching and helping to teach students, although their educational backgrounds do not prepare many of them for such responsibilities. Title I teacher aides reported that 60 percent of their time was spent on teaching or helping to teach students. Moreover, 41 percent of Title I aides reported that half or more of the time they spent teaching or helping to teach students was on their own, without a teacher present, and 76 percent spent at least some of their time teaching without a teacher present. Although 99 percent of these aides had a high school diploma or a GED,only 25 percent (and 10 percent in the highest-poverty schools) had a bachelor’s degree.”

      Sen. Lamar Alexander doesn’t want to require teachers who know the subject they teach in his re-authorization of ESEA. He’s satisfied if they are simply “licensed.” So are the training programs for them.

      No wonder nothing has changed in overall reading scores by high school for low-income kids in over 30 years.

  15. […] against Kline’s proposal had been stoked long before that piece came out. This included a manifesto issued weeks before that piece by a group of otherwise-sensible conservative reformers led by Jay […]

  16. […] to private schools of choice and maintained federal mandates defining testing policy for states, requiring states to test students on an annual basis in grades three through eight and in high school. Although testing is an important diagnostic tool […]

  17. […] mandated annual assessment—on which Johnny often has little incentive to perform well. Moreover, as recently noted in the debate over annual testing mandates, education researcher Helen Ladd noted in […]

  18. […] mandated annual assessment—on which Johnny often has little incentive to perform well. Moreover, as recently noted in the debate over annual testing mandates, education researcher Helen Ladd noted in […]

  19. kansansagainstcommoncoreii says:

    Reblogged this on kansansagainstcommoncoreii and commented:
    Ze’ev Wurman has testified in Kansas to help us stop CC. Stotsky is THE English standards guru of gurus. More about these people at the bottom of the article. These are good people who know their stuff. It is absolutely NOT worth passing a 600+ page bill that does not stop Common Core or remove the intrusive standardized testing.
    We are URGING our followers to call their Senators and tell/ask them to STOP the re-authorization of ESEA. Pass the word to friends and family in Kansas and throughout the US.
    For Kansas residents: Senator Jerry Moran 202.224.6521 and Senator Pat Roberts 202.224.4774 (or 620.227.2244).
    For all other states:…/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

  20. […] Taken straight FROM Jay P. Greene’s Blog : […]

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