Browsing articles in "Federal Education"
Nov 19, 2010
ELW

Education in the Lame Duck Congress

The US Congress is back in session to deal with the federal budget and decide the fate of the Bush tax cuts, both of which the Democrats in control were too afraid to tackle before the election.  According to EdWatch’s congressional sources, what will happen with the federal budget is anyone’s guess.  There are three main possibilities.

  1. Continuing Resolution (CR) – This would continue spending at current levels until some specified time in the future, probably leaving the thorny budget issues for the next Congress to solve.  Republicans would like that because it would then leave them free to enact the fiscal discipline for which they were elected. Given that the defeated House Democrat caucus would have to relinquish control early and actually vote for fiscal responsibility, this seems unlikely. The federal government is currently being funded by a CR, because the new fiscal year started on October 1st.  The current CR is set to expire on December 3rd.
  2. Passing Each Individual Budget Bills – Given that there are twelve such budget bills that often contain controversial amendments, that these bills are large and complex and comprise trillions of dollars of federal spending, and that Congress will adjourn this session two weeks after Thanksgiving week after not dealing with these bills for eleven months, we also see this possibility as farfetched.

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Oct 9, 2010
ELW

Are the Winds of Educational Freedom Blowing Towards Congress?

With the rise of TEA party movement and general voter anger at the overspending and the strangling control the federal government into more and more aspects of our lives, it was quite encouraging to read a lengthy analysis on EdWeek.org of where federal education policy is headed that included an interview of Congressman John Kline (R-MN).

Rep. Kline is currently the ranking Republican on the US House Education and Workforce Committee. If the currently predicted Republican landslide in the US House occurs in the November midterm election, then he could well be chairman of that all-important committee and will be very influential in federal education policy. This would include how No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will be reauthorized and what will happen with the Race to the Top initiative started by the Obama administration after passage of the stimulus bill. Here are some excerpts from his remarks. Continue reading »

Sep 30, 2010
ELW

Preschool Actually Harms Reading Achievement

Education is a very big issue in the state of Minnesota and across the nation this election season, as it should be for comprising 40-50% of many state budgets. Using Minnesota as an example, all three gubernatorial candidates in their budget plans, debates, and speeches are discussing the importance of “investing” in early childhood education. Democrat Mark Dayton and Independence Party Candidate Tom Horner constantly discuss the importance of early childhood, with Horner boldly calling for “cradle to grave” government education. Republican Tom Emmer, to his credit, has been emphasizing the importance of literacy and school choice regarding preschool, especially for poor children to close the “achievement gap.”

However, none of the candidates seem to understand the miserable failure of early childhood education in improving literacy or closing the achievement gap. In fact, they all seem to have been taken in by the usual suspects in the preschool cabal into believing that “kindergarten readiness,” however subjectively defined, is equivalent to improved reading performance. Nothing could be farther from the truth.Reading is the most fundamental of academic skills and if especially poor children are not taught well how to do so, they are doomed to life of failure. By 4th grade, when the effects of preschool should be most apparent, Pre-K actually at best, leaves reading scores unchanged and in the worst case scenario finds them to be lower than the national average. The news is even worse for poor children, making the achievement gap worse Continue reading »

Jun 1, 2010
ELW

Opposition to Federal Curriculum Helps Put Brakes on Race to the Top

As of May 19th, the state of Minnesota has finally and thankfully given up on its second round application for Race to the Top (RTTT). The Pawlenty administration and many Republicans are blaming Democrats and the statewide teachers’ union for opposing reforms in teacher accountability such as alternative licensure, increased evaluations, performance pay, and tenure reform for the inability to proceed with the application.  Less discussed or admitted, but far more important for liberty, sovereignty, and academic excellence was the strong and concerted opposition from the grassroots and freedom-minded legislators to centralization of control and the adoption of national standards, otherwise known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).

The CCSSI, though described as a voluntary, state-led initiative, comprises a federal curriculum, because it is required for participation in RTTT and because it appears that it will be required to receive the bulk of federal Title I money in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Continue reading »