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  • Five Questions for Education Secretary Arne Duncan

    On Tuesday morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will address the National Press Club. Here are five questions we’d like him to answer:

    1. You said the outcome of the Chicago teachers strike was “great for children.” Considering that the union hindered a merit-pay proposal that would have awarded the most effective teachers and that the proposals demanded by the unions, such as step increases in pay and across-the-board pay raises—have no impact on academic achievement, just exactly how do children benefit from the union’s deal?
    2. The Obama Administration has pushed aggressively to implement Common Core national education standards. While the standards have been touted as a state-led reform, the Administration continues to condition federal education funding—and most recently No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers—on whether states adopt the standards. Isn’t this an overreach of the federal government into state and local authority?
    3. The momentum for school choice continues to increase. Support for private school choice is at an all-time high—44 percent—in the U.S, and studies show that voucher students are succeeding. Many of the children currently benefiting from school choice are those from the worst performing schools and from low-income families. Why does the Administration continue to oppose private school choice?
    4. The Department of Education is issuing NCLB waivers to states. You say the waivers give schools “flexibility.” But how do they give states flexibility when they come with strings attached, making states adopt the Administration’s preferred education policies in order to receive a waiver? Why doesn’t the federal government give states true flexibility with proposals such as A-PLUS, which allows states to completely opt out of NCLB?
    5. The federal government has been piling dollars onto the already sky-high education budget, including $100 billion in stimulus funding in 2009, a $10 billion education bailout in 2010, and now another proposed $60 billion education bailout. But despite decades of increased spending, student achievement and graduation rates have hardly budged. Instead of more spending to support the failed status quo, how about giving states greater control over their education dollars, allowing them to implement the changes they see fit to advance student learning?

    American education is in dire need of reform. The Administration’s attempts to increase federal spending and control of education exacerbates the same failed track record. Rather than more failed policies, Americans deserve policies that help students succeed, and American students deserve the opportunity to receive the best education possible.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Five Questions for Education Secretary Arne Duncan

    1. Susan Rempel, Ph.D. says:

      Brilliant post! If only those questions would be answered!!

    2. Jim says:

      The department of education at the federal level should be a marketing department only. No mandate authority. A small department should communicate and share best practices. Provide recommended standards, report measurements to all 50 states. Have some interface with international education that has best practices. Mandating federal authority as one size fits all hurts United States education.

    3. Skip says:

      1. Teachers are for the most part a product of the public education system. They graduate from colleges and universities which focus on theory and little on content. If you want to improve teacher performance get off the process education band wagon and have teachers earn degrees in their field of study rather than a general ed. degree. 2. Students have been set up in systems that refuse to allow them to fail, thus they have no sense of urgency nor appreciation when it comes to the value of their education.No matter what someone will put for the effort for them. 3. Parents need to get involved. Make students do their homework. Ask them what they are learning. Get to know their teachers. RUN FOR SCHOOL BOARDS!. Vote for candidates who support school choice. This will all end when parents, teachers, students, citizens have had enough.

    4. Rono44o says:

      Given the Constitution's certain omission of education as a federal authority I don't understand why Heritage supports ANY federal funding of education. Whether or not there are strings attached is not the issue.

    5. Jesse Roberts says:

      Why is it the law says a student can quit school at the age of 16? Why not say they must finish school or be 18 before they can quit. This sure would help the parents and the kids. i think a child that is 16 aren't old enough to make such a decision. I am 70 years old and i'm still concerned abou our children. Please send me an answer of why this can't be done. Thanks

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