The latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Act
to replace NCLB moved ever closer in the past couple of days, as a deal was struck on a final version that will be tinkered with over the next two or three weeks before a final vote that will come after Thanksgiving.
The new deal keeps enough of the federal requirements
to make the testing industry breathe a sigh of relief, as annual testing will be remain in place. Also, and importantly for the charter industry, the Feds will continue to require states to continue interventions for the bottom 5 percent of schools.
So the charter profiteers will have plenty of room for growth (there will always be a bottom 5 percent), and even more importantly, Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennett made sure that billions will be available
to fund the well-connected no excuses segregated chain gangs that have a record of high test scores:
“Too often, we fund unproven programs with little to
show in the way of results. More of our federal dollars should work to
encourage innovative programs and practices that can demonstrate
significant education outcomes. Our Education and Innovation Research
Program establishes a dedicated funding stream to support the
development and expansion of evidence-based programs and practices
designed and implemented by educators and local communities.”
Additionally, the new "dedicated revenue stream" will allow federal grants to other corporate welfare artists besides charter operators:
- The Education Innovation and Research amendment
would create a dedicated funding stream to support the development and
scale up of evidence-based practices that encourage innovations in policy and practice.
- This grant would provide flexible funding for a broad range of locally-driven
projects and allow schools, districts, non-profits, and small
businesses to develop proposals based on the specific needs of students
and the community.
- Grants would be awarded
based on past success, with funding levels tied to the strength of the
evidence the applicant is able to present of their program’s
Importantly, too, for the new states rights version of ESEA, the Secretary of Education and her federal department cannot provided oversight
or corrective intervention in any way with states' decisions on how the billions of federal grants are spent.
If the current version passes, federal education policy will be largely decentralized, which will require fifty battles, instead of one, to be waged by the small army that makes up the corporate education resistance movement.
We can thank the Ravitch's NPE
, the NEA, AFT, and Fairtest for their eager support of this corporate welfare version of ESEA. Once the passage becomes inevitable, we can count on all that former support to begin the transformation to opposition.