Education "Reform"

Doug Mann, who is a Minneapolis Green Party Candidate, posted the following about education laws that pretend to be reform.

The newest iteration of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act (ESERA) applies more direct pressure on schools that qualify for Title I funding to conform to its requirements than earlier iterations of ESERA, while taking some pressure off other schools to fully comply, following a path of least resistance to the goals of charterization, deprofessionalization, and de-unionization of the public school system. Schools are still required to implement a high stakes testing regime in order to qualify for funding, but are given some flexibility in choosing the curriculum and tests to be used. Under the brand name given this law in 2001, No Child Left Behind, the elimination of teacher tenure, seniority and due process rights for public school teachers were explicitly stated policy goals. Race To The Top grants were effective in overcoming resistance to the No Child Left Behind agenda.

ESERA was recently rebranded as the Every Child Succeeds Act and is modified rhetorically but not substantially in its policy goals. Title 1 funding is allocated more on the basis of merit than need via a shift in funding toward grants awarded at the school site level that meet grant awarding criteria, and less money is funneled to school sites through state Departments of Education. A section of the law advocates "Human Capital Management" decisions for teachers based on performance evaluations in which test scores as well as other measurable outcomes are used to assign a ranking to every teacher. This represents are return to merit-based personnel decisions, such as in granting pay increases, promoting, demoting, transferring or firing. Tenure, seniority and due process rights are an obstacle to implementing this scheme. Under this scheme teachers are ranked, and the lower ranked teachers are yanked, i.e., fired and replaced as part of a teacher quality improvement strategy. This "teacher quality improvement strategy" ensures high turnover of teachers and heavy exposure of students to newly hired and less experienced teachers in targeted schools, which conflicts with the stated goal of increasing teacher quality.



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