I’m nowhere near finished researching the changes possible with the passage of the ill-named “Every Child Achieves Act.” For one thing, it’s still quite a fur piece from President Obama’s desk at this point. For another, the wording, as is always true for these things, is just vague and open-ended enough to allow wiggle room the size of an airport.
There’s also differences of opinion on what it means for the Senate to have not passed an amendment “legalizing” opting-out, and whether the infamous 95% participation rate rule is dead, in hospice or just left to the States.
All that said, it’s that last phrase that sticks with me from my research so far. To overly simplify the incredibly complex and half-done: “ECAA” just throws the ball back into the States’ court (perhaps tennis, perhaps courthouse). Republican support for the measure is centered around “getting the Feds out of education” and ECAA, as it written now, does that. Democrats seem deeply split on testing, with a sizable number supporting the idea that it is only through standardized testing that the “achievement gap” will be eliminated.
Reflecting this split, the bills (House/Senate) as I read/research them waffle on testing, specifics, thus seeming to empower the States even more.
Again, more research and finality is needed. I’d appreciate any feedback/insights/ranting to clarify as we go toward President Obama’s desk with this. That said, right now it’s my thinking that the potential passing of this bill in anything close to its current form means the following for us here in New Mexico:
- The quicker Susana Martinez is no longer Governor of New Mexico, the better;
- If any of you see a job posting for “educational expert” at some think-tank or political action committee, please pass along the name of Hanna Skandera to the hiring committee;
- The next Governor absolutely must be vetted, informed and held accountable (with measurable outcomes…okay, I’ll stop) on issues pertaining to education and standardized testing; and,
- The “Gary King 2014” lesson must be burned deep into the brain of all Democratic voters. Deeply. Never. Again.
One upshot of all this is that we on the Democratic left of Hillary Clinton continue to be in a strange educational policy bed with Republicans in terms of opposition to testing. The Rs keep stealing the covers, but we on the Democratic left of Hillary Clinton are almost certain a Bernie Sanders as the D candidate in 2016 means Republicans will steal the whole bed, bed stand, alarm clock and glass of water with our teeth in it. As most of you know, the second largest teacher’s union, the American Federation of Teachers, already announced its endorsement of Ms. Clinton. Given how early they did it, I’m surprised they haven’t already announced their endorsed candidates for 2020 and 2024 as well. More on that, later.