Federal overreach

This will sound quite Republican of me, but I would abolish the Common Core Standards, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top. Heck, why stop there? I’d get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, since no federal official is better positioned than a classroom teacher to determine curriculum and pedagogy. Nor could Arne Duncan, the current Secretary of Education, know what’s best for individual students, though he presumes as much.

But I’m not finished.

I urge states to withhold from the U.S. Department of Revenue the equivalent of their respective contributions to the U.S. Department of Education. Use that money instead to help fully fund public schools sans testing regimes.

The Obama Administration, some have argued, violates the Constitution by insisting on a national set of standards, called ‘Common Core.’ As proof, one could cite this recent move to deny Oklahoma a waiver from No Child Left Behind for rescinding those standards. That state would join Washington as the only two states to be denied waivers. In our case, it was the legislature’s refusal to tie teacher evaluations to their students’ test scores.

The loss of waivers should finally shine a light on NCLB’s ridiculous requirement that 100 percent of all students, regardless of circumstances, pass standardized tests by this year. If only one child flunks, her whole school is deemed a failure. Here in Washington, nearly 90 percent of the schools are failing.

Writing for the Everett Herald, Jerry Cornfield reports:

Overall, 1,916 schools, or 88.1 percent, did not meet the standard and needed to send out letters. Only 260 schools met the standards based on student performance last school year.

Lake Wobegon, anyone?

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