So Michelle’s “Not ‘Done’ Fighting”?

by theschoolprincipal on December 12, 2010


You’ve probably heard by now. If not, check out the latest Newsweek (December 13, 2010). I’ll send you the  link as soon as Newsweek makes it available.

Michelle says she’s “decided to start StudentsFirst, a national movement to transform public education in our country.We need a new voice to change the balance of power in public education. Our mission is to defend and promote the interests of children so that America has the best education system in the world.” She goes on to say, “We’ll ask people across the country to join StudentsFirst — we’re hoping to sign up 1 million members and raise $1 billion in our first year.”

So — another lobby that thinks its ideas about school reform should be applied across-the-board, across the nation. Another lobby that has little to no experience in the trenches (Michelle, as a Teach for America recruit, taught in Baltimore for three years). Another lobby about school reform whose ideas are not based on sound, authentic research. Another lobby that will tell our Senators and Representatives what they want to hear.

If we’re successful in our fight against the reauthorization of NCLB — the battle will not be over. We will have to organize against this new lobby as well.

The good news . . . and a most delicious Will Rodgers’ quote  for both Arne and Michelle:

This week’s HuffingtonPost.org includes  a post written by Kevin Welner. Memorize his name. Memorize the name of his new research group at the University of Colorado. He is the director of the National Education Policy Center. The mission of this group is to validate (or not) research about education– the very research that is driving  the school reform movement — the research that has resulted in No Child Left Behind and Blueprint for Reform.

This research has largely been done by the D.C. think tanks — which exist to spread their political philosophies and  influence D.C. policymakers. Do y0u recall Arne telling us that Blueprint is research-based?

One of the first tasks of the NEPC’s Think Tank Review Project was to examine the research behind Blueprint. Here is a link to the report. Yet despite the report, Congress is still considering reauthorizing NCLB/Blueprint for Reform. I’m thinking of  buying one for each  Senator and Representative from my state — Arizona. If you want to order one, here’s the link. The cost for the softbound copy with postage is about $25.00

In Kevin Welner’s HuffPost.org post, he hits the nail on the head. When Arne, our U.S. Secretary of Education called the international PISA scores released last Tuesday “a massive wake-up call,” here’s how Welner responded:

“I can’t figure out what to make of Duncan’s response. Certainly he knows that the 15-year-old Americans taking this exam grew up in schools dominated by the high-stakes testing of No Child Left Behind. He must also know that the other main trend in education during these students’ schooling was a great increase in charter schools and other forms of school choice. One might think, then, that the massive wake-up call he’s experiencing would sound something like Will Rogers’ wisdom: ‘If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.'”

Isn’t that perfect? NCLB was passed in 2001. It’s been around a decade. The few good things that have come out of it have  been overshadowed by its  unintended consequences. An enormous amount of money and time have been wasted. Many schools were already in the midst of their own reforms when NCLB was passed, and local efforts got sidetracked.

Arne and Michelle: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. (Will Rogers via Kevin Welner) Stop the reauthorization of NCLB/Blueprint.

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