NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 28, 2008

If Barak Obama takes office, the state of education would change, producing new winners and losers, says Investor's Business Daily. What could you expect?

Lots more taxpayer money:

  • From 2001-2007, federal education aid has risen sharply, with a 40 percent increase in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) programs, a 29 percent rise overall.
  • But the National Education Association claims that schools are being shortchanged by $32 billion and Obama pledges to fully fund NCLB,.

Kinder, gentler "standards:"

  • NCLB is about accountability; it measures schools' performance and pressures the underperformers to improve, but pubic schools would prefer to get federal money with no strings and no demands.
  • The Obama campaign pledges to move beyond the current standardized math and reading tests and "improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college."

Limited choices:

  • Obama speaks about "choice" only in the public school context, and likes to boast that he has supported charter schools, which are publicly funded but mostly outside district and union controls.
  • But Obama's actual platform suggests he wants to shorten the charters' leash; he would offer more federal charter funding "only to states that improve accountability for charter schools."

However, the more you "individualize" assessments, the less you can compare one student's performance with another's.  Likewise the less you can compare students and schools against widely accepted standards of education.  "Standards" like these are not standards at all, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Money For Nothing," Investor's Business Daily, October 23, 2008.


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