"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Spellings Gets an Earful in Vegas

A newly-tinted and unusually well-fed Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, has nothing to show for her eight years of unceasing threats, sanctimonious sanctions, and unfunded mandates, except for the fact that public school systems of America are even more strapped for cash than they were eight years ago. She continues to spout her unrepentant bromides and to offer a 99.9% tin ear on everything NCLB.

While Paige and Spellings doled out billions since 2002 to the testing-technology complex and their crooked cronies of the textbook-tutoring industry, public schools have been melting down under the steam heat of impossible testing targets and sanctions designed by the enemies of public education. Nonetheless, Spellings continues even to the end, in a fashion that has made her a soulmate of the Simpleton Decider, to proclaim the virtues on the most disastrous education policy ever conceived at the national level. According to Spellings, NCLB has made it possible for school systems to better target their freeze-dried budgets.

Texas cannot reclaim this incompetent hag fast enough. It would seem the folks in Las Vegas agree:

The federal No Child Left Behind Act, an education law intended to improve student achievement, can also help public schools weather the tough economic climate, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Tuesday.

The Clark County School District, for instance, is preparing for anticipated reductions of $120 million in state funding next year.

Armed with the student test data gathered by federal mandate, Spellings said, educators can go to lawmakers and say: "This is where we are, this is what we need, and this is who needs help."

Spellings, who was in Las Vegas to speak at the Federal Student Aid Conference at Bally's, said the economic crisis is forcing public schools to look carefully at how resources are allocated. Information on school performance can be used to set budget priorities.

"As discouraging as it can be, it's an opportunity to right the ship and make sure we're spending the money on the things that are absolutely essential."

. . . .

During a news conference, Spellings insisted that educators can use the information on school performance to set budget priorities "so we can be a lot smarter with the limited resources we have."

No Child Left Behind, enacted in 2001, calls for schools to have all students performing at grade level by 2014. The federal act is often criticized by those who see it as an unfunded mandate that places too much emphasis on testing and call it punitive for labeling under-performing schools as failures.

Spellings said Tuesday that she doesn't understand the criticism. She said the legislation was intended to create more awareness and force necessary change.

"It just says these are the facts ma'am," said Spellings, whose term ends with the Bush administration.

Spellings said she will continue to advocate for No Child Left Behind.

Spellings came under criticism Tuesday after speaking to the conference of financial aid advisers. Audience members criticized both student loan programs and her leadership. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:56 PM