Entanglement of ESEA

News Today on Education Policy

Bloomberg Press: Duncan, Obama Headed for Fight in Congress on Education Policy, Funding: This article discusses potential overhaul of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ (ESEA) system by including provisions that discuss tracking students and training teachers better. This article foresees the fight over budget and how much federal money should be given and how much should be required of states. This seems to be the issue on almost everything in government nowadays…how much should the feds be involved? And by involved, I mean, 1. How much should the federal government give to states 2. How much should states be responsible for the money given i.e. what accountability measures need to be in place to prove the money will be or has been used to better education and 3. How are these results measured? Whose responsibility is it to measure them?

All these questions will be that of open debate after the State of the Union address regarding education.

Quote: “The president may have to settle for a piecemeal approach, “bite-size chunks as opposed to redoing a giant bill,” said Republican Duncan Hunter of California, chairman of the panel’s subcommittee on early childhood, elementary and secondary education. Hunter said he’ll hold hearings to determine the government’s role in education and will look at ways to cut funding for the Department of Education.”

From articles and online forum posts, I have compiled a list of pros and cons to looking or resolving this issue through a piece-meal approach.

Pro:

  • Could provide adequate compromise between parties.
  • Most figure that if they can’t move a full blown ESEA initiative because it is so complicated, then they want to do what they can to improve what they can instead of years of mulling it over.

My question: Since when did party neutrality become more important than the real issue: providing a quality education for all students?

A Con to the Pro: Each time you pass something that people want to pass, the incentive to recreate the overall reauthorization is lessened. It gets moved to the back of the shelf until another problem arises and creates a slew of all new problems.

Con:

  • During an online discussion, members from the Alliance of Excellent Education said that it will be hard to do piece-meal approach, because it is so complicated. They explained that a lot of these issues are intertwined. Current legislators tend to take the “let’s grab what we can” approach without keeping in mind that there are several provisions tucked into one another that could complicate new legislation. An overhaul is most likely to override this issue of entanglement.
  • An overhaul could mean tighter goals, but but more flexibility in the law in how states should improve their schools. It gives power to the states to make those determinations by themselves.

My question: Could a piecemeal approach provide just as much flexibility, or would it create more red tape and legislation?

Weekend Thoughts

The Washington Post shared an article about schools that are limiting the wearing of products like Disney, Nickelodeon or other cartoon characters on shirts, etc. The main point from administrators was that the kids are overexposed to advertisements as it is, and the school feels they have the responsibility to limit advertising in the school. They also state that certain cartoon shows perpetuate bad behavior and crass comments (not necessarily related to Disney, but other cartoons). A fight began when the school system penalized a 14 year old girl for wearing a pair of Tigger socks. OK people….really?

Student rights advocates, please feel free to comment.