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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Corporate Dixiecrat Version of ESEA Moves Closer to Passage

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 effectiveness.
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. 


  1. I'm coming across a lot of language in "Community Schools" literature about what they are lobbying for in the ESEA. Would you say the second bullet point is the part that is relevant to them? I continue to be concerned that Community Schools is a way to make outsourcing of public education to non-profit entities palatable as we continue to starve schools of public funding and appropriate resources. Is there a link to read the ESEA legislation and see what's in there? Thanks.

  2. It is not uncommon for CorpEd to coopt the language of public school advocates. Here is the link to the Senate version, which is very similar to the surviving version: