While this blog has been mainly dedicated to communications information and good PR versus bad PR, this post is to inaugurate my new and improved blog entitled, Foundations of Education: Propositioning education enterprises.
Most of you know that I graduated with my masters in public administration and education policy. Many of you don’t know that I wrote my major research paper (MRP), equivalent to a thesis, on the Elementary Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which has been known for the past several years as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). What is interesting about this bill is that it did not just come about with the Bush Administration. No, no. That is a misconceived notion.
Before the concept of standardized testing as a way to measure student achievement, rules and accountability measures for teachers, and the appropriations of thousands of dollars to differing education programs, questions about the future of education in America preempted deliberations on the future of government involvement in education. In 1965, ESEA acted as a catalyst for future education decisions in both the state and federal governments addressing questions like;
1. What happens when the marketplace has failing districts? What can the federal government do to help these poorer areas that don’t have adequate resources to provide for their students?
2. How do we measure how much monies to give to these districts while at the same time being equitable and fair? How do we distribute a large federal budget equally across states for education purposes?
3. What programs are working to aid education improvement? What programs aren’t working?
4. If we find new technologies or research that indicate the transformation of education for all children, how do we implement this while also adhering to teacher’s and ultimately, student’s needs? How much money do we dedicate to make sure that it is properly implemented? How does this affect students/teachers/parents/guardians?
While some say that the answer to education is that student achievement scores would sky rocket if only there were more parental involvement, others say that smaller classroom sizes will give students a better opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. Neither of these assumptions or ideas are wrong. It is important to keep in mind that there is no silver bullet answer, that answering problems in one situation is completely different than answering problems in another. When the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan says that there will be hurdles to cross when it comes to answers in education, he is not just trying to avoid giving answers to the press. There are hurdles and barriers that exist due to the evolving nature of education and society.
There are so many other questions about education. I have not even touched on the ideas presented in some of my papers specifically around differing student learning capabilities, teacher merit, etc. The point is that there are many issues, none of which can be solved without influencing another.
I have compiled a list of links to articles discussing the movement of improving education through policy. Regardless of how this is to be done before the 2012 elections, it is certain that there are some great disparities in education. However, I will let you determine those for yourself. Here is a list of articles discussing what the nation, including the President, House and Senate want to do in terms of education. I have also highlighted some of what I consider to be outstanding text.
Education Week: Momentum Building on ESEA renewal?: “…The biggest obstacle to renewal isn’t necessarily a big clash of ideas between Republicans and Democrats. It could just as easily be the deep intraparty divisions, particularly within the Democratic Party, on just where to take the law when it comes to sticky issues like accountability, teacher performance pay, evaluation, tenure, and how best to turn around low-performing schools.”
Washington Post: Obama Aims to Revise No Child Left Behind: “Obama favors better tests, more attention to student growth and broader measures of schools than snapshots of reading and math achievement. Last year he proposed giving most schools more flexibility to meet targets, while focusing intervention on the lowest performers.
To propose revisions to the education law would open a wide-ranging debate on school funding (most states face painful budget cuts), vouchers for private schools, performance pay, national standards, special education, bilingual education and school safety, among other matters.”
Fredericksburg.com: No Child Anew? “…the federal government isn’t ready to kiss off NCLB just yet. It in fact sees the 2014 deadline as a chance to overhaul the program. So far, there is bipartisan agreement–try that on for size!–that significant changes (including a new name) are needed after seeing the program founder for most of a decade. Let’s see if the truce holds when there is actual legislation to debate.”
Associated Press: Obama’s Education Focus Faces Big Hurdles: “No one I’m talking to is defending the status quo,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in an interview. “Everyone I talk to really shares my sense of urgency that we have to do better for our children. We’re fighting for our country here.”
Earlier Conversations about Focus on Education