Civil Rights champion, Gary Orfield, posted this on Facebook this evening. For those who think, or pretend to think, that this bill is the best we can do, take note:
Congress seems about to enact a massive education law that would set the country back more than a half century ending the focus adopted in l965 of focusing federal aid on the schools of concentrated poverty. It's more progressive supporters are relying on the Secretary's authority to approve state plans but that authority is full of loopholes and there is no real accounting about what happens with federal funds which can be merged with state and local funds in ways that make it impossible to evaluate.
It is a state's rights bill that would allow states to do pretty much whatever they wish and giving the federal government extremely limited authority to enforce any equity provisions or even prevent transfer of substantial federal funds to private contractors and schools.
The threat is that this will become law and the president will sign it before almost any of the decisionmakers have the chance to carefully read and understand the implications of the key provisions in a package of hundreds of pages that was just revealed this week and could become law in two more weeks if it is rushed through. It is pretty much what conservatives have fought for since the l960s. They have given the progressives lots of wonderful language about things that the states could decide to do but almost none of it is truly enforceable and there is very little to keep states from doing things that would harm the schools that need the most help.
Because of serious mistakes by the Bush and Obama administrations in excessive regulation we may well go to the other extreme, where we were back in the l950s. I hope that people concerned with education read the bill, or at least the key parts of the hundreds of pages and quickly make their views known, since we could be living with this for a decade or more as we did with No Child Left Behind.