Now that the Senate version has moved out of committee, we are being assured by Senators on both sides of the aisle that it represents a broad compromise that eliminates problems with current legislation.
Not all observers agree. Leaders of five key national education groups express concern that the new version of the ESEA still does not give states the necessary leeway in measuring student growth and continues too much emphasis on high-stakes testing. They worry that teacher and principal evaluation processes are being mandated that create “forced distribution of professionals” rather than provide really helpful information that can be used to improve performance or eliminate non-performers. In other words, they see the law leading to evaluation systems that force each group being evaluated to be distributed on a normal curve regardless of how proficient they are.I do not know enough about the present bill to know whether these concerns are legitimate but I have increasing doubt that solving whatever our national problems with education are is best done in Washington by people who are far removed from the classroom.
I was born in Iowa and grew up in Wyoming. Everything I remember about the culture of those two states, and everything I have observed in working in them in recent years, makes me wonder if the Iowa and Wyoming Senators who have developed the new bill have been away from their home states for too long. Neither state is populated by many people who put a lot of faith in the federal government to solve all their problems.I worry that with all the focus on jobs and other economic issues, continuing world conflicts, and the upcoming Presidential election, changes will be made in the federal role in education that not only fail to cure the ills created by NCLB but generate new problems.
Can anyone provide information that will tell me I am worrying needlessly?