Friday, June 24, 2011

What Will Kristi Do?

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader opines
It's a good sign that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has indicated that he will work with schools through this limbo created by the stalling of the NCLB reauthorization. He predicted that without changes, more than 80 percent of U.S. schools would be labeled failing next year. No matter what the good intentions of the NCLB law, that sort of failure rate is certainly an unintended consequence.

Congress needs to move quickly to at least put the yearly proficiency ratings standard aside while the next round of education legislation is worked out. Rep. Kristi Noem, who sits on the House Education Committee, is in position to take a lead role in moving this discussion forward. She should do that. [emphasis mine]
Last week KELO reported,
Associated School Boards has discussed the concerns with Representative Kristi Noem, who's on the education committee. She agrees something more needs to be done.

"Just loosening some requirements doesn't really get us more progress down the road that's better for our kids,” Noem said. “We really need to head back to the reauthorization process and fix things that are wrong with the law.". . . .
Noem says she'd like to see new NCLB provisions give more local control to districts, to improve and enhance where they see fit.
South Dakota's most widely circulated paper and the state's school board association believe the state needs some immediate relief from NCLB.  Meanwhile, the New York Times reports,
In a sharp rebuke to the Obama administration, the Republican chairman of the House education committee on Thursday challenged plans by the education secretary to override provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Law, and he said he would use a House rewrite of it this year to rein in the secretary’s influence on America’s schools.

Responding to Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s promise to grant states waivers to the education law’s most onerous provisions if Congress failed to rewrite it, the committee chairman, Representative John Kline of Minnesota, sent Mr. Duncan a letter on Thursday demanding that he explain by July 1 the legal authority that he believed he had to issue the waivers.

Mr. Kline went further in a conference call with reporters, criticizing the administration’s use of the $5 billion Race to the Top grant competition to get states to adopt its reform agenda.

“He’s not the nation’s superintendent,” Mr. Kline said of Mr. Duncan, who assumed powers greater than any of his predecessors when, in 2009, Congress voted $100 billion in economic stimulus money for the nation’s school systems and allowed the secretary to decide how much of it should be spent.  
It seems that House Republicans want to rein in Duncan before they fix NCLB.  Noem seems to be being pulled in opposite directions.

The fact is both goals need to be met.  Duncan needs to be reined in and Congress needs to repair some of NCLB's stupid requirements.  Whatever his faults, Duncan correctly asserts "unless the law is rewritten quickly, 80,000 of the nation’s 100,000 public schools could be declared failing this fall, demoralizing educators and paralyzing administrators with red tape."

NCLB will be a key test for Representative Noem who has shown little talent for anything except raising money.  Can she use her position on the committee to rein in Duncan and fix NCLB before September?

I'm not sanguine about the prospects, but I'll let oddsmakers set the line in the comments.


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yanktonirishred said...

Hasn't Mrs Noems answer to everything, no matter the problem been

"give more local control to _____________, to improve and enhance where they see fit."

I'm not saying that isn't the answer here. No one but the teachers working with the kids knows better what will benefit the kids, but to me this just seems to be her stock answer.

School funding, energy, income shortfalls, insurance, unemployment.

If she wants local governments and entities to do all the work...then why the hell do we need her?


travis said...

I'll give you 4 to 3 odds that Noem will be a part of reforming the law.

2 to 1 that it will be just as bad or worse.

30 to 1 that it will be a win for schools and educators....