- Fifth Texas School Finance Suit Focuses on Efficiency
A group of parents in Texas filed the state’s fifth school finance lawsuit in Austin today. The lawsuit represents a new angle on the funding issue — one that focuses not on whether the state adequately pays for schools but rather if the way it distributes money is efficient and equitable. The plaintiffs, including a group called Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, believe that the system has not offered enough choice to parents who want to put their children in good public schools.
- Department of Education Gets Defensive on National Standards
The secretary’s defensive statement is telling: If the Common Core standards are truly state-led, it is curious that the Department of Education would be weighing in on an issue related to the education standards South Carolina will use. That Duncan has chosen to issue a public statement on South Carolina’s uneasiness about the Common Core push is an indication of just how heavily involved the federal government is with the effort, and the amount of control it stands to gain once states surrender standard-setting authority to Washington. And it’s not a conspiracy theory—as Duncan claims—if a confluence of evidence exists to support charges that these are national standards. South Carolina—and states across the country—are right to have pause about this latest federal overreach. And they shouldn’t be ridiculed by a federal agency that has already done plenty to centralize education spending and authority.
- Duncan and the Abuse of Research (As Well As Power)
Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s press statement on South Carolina was a bizarre display of the opposite of what it intended. As Greg pointed out, the statement’s harsh and threatening tone did nothing to support the claim that Common Core national standards and assessments are a purely voluntary consortium of the states. Instead, the statement was a not so veiled threats that South Carolina would lose out on the opportunity for federal grants like Race to the Top and lose the opportunity to receive waivers from impossible to satisfy NCLB requirements if it followed through with a proposal to withdraw from Common Core. If it is purely voluntary, why the need for threats and intimidation from the Education Secretary?
- ‘Say I Threatened You Again, And You’ll Really Be Sorry!’
I don’t really need to go any further than the statement itself to prove that, contrary to “Fat Tony” Duncan’s protestations, it is not a “conspiracy theory” to say that the Common Core is “nationally imposed.” But let’s rehearse the litany one more time: In 2008 the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc.—the main Common Core architects—called for federal “incentives” to get states to adopt “a common core of internationally benchmarked standards in math and language arts.” President Obama’s $4.35-billion Race to the Top required that states, to be fully competitive for grants, adopt national standards. Race to the Top contained $330 million that Washington is using to fund development of two national tests to go with the Common Core. The President’s “blueprint” to reauthorize No Child Left Behind would make national standards the backbone of federal accountability. To get waivers from No Child Left Behind’s most onerous provisions, a state has to either adopt the Common Core or have a state college system declare that the state’s standards are “college- and career-ready.” Of course, this came after almost every state had already adopted the Common Core.