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  • Education Reform – where do we stand now?
  • Posted By:
  • Staff Admin
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  • 29-Oct-2015
  • Obama made it clear that the course Department of Education has been taking so far would continue in his final year of the term even after Arne Duncan the secretary was replaced by John B. King Jr., the deputy education secretary.

    It is however clear that King and Duncan are no more as prominent in Washington as they were before due to certain changes in the political dynamics. The flux of education politics is evident now.

    Both of them have similar credentials. While the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School Mission Hill founder King was also the former New York State education commissioner, Duncan was a former public schools chief in Chicago.

    Duncan has always been a part of reform movement in education that focused on enhanced schools accountability, improving academic standards through linking of more funds and making the large, inefficient school systems more competitive through creation of publicly funded independent schools.

    What remains to be seen is whether the post Obama era would allow education reformers enough traction among Democrats. Two powerful unions namely the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association back Hillary Clinton. Both these unions are highly sceptical about high-stakes testing and charter schools.

    During the recession, suspicion loomed around the public employee unions. Yawning inequality marks the weak recovery and this has resulted in a receptive audience for labor groups. Corporate education reform and other policies backed by businesses are being rebranded by pro-union activists in keeping with this spirit.

    Support is not very strong on the right as well though the past saw George W. Bush working in conjunction with Ted Kennedy on the No Child Left Behind federal law as a part of education reform.

    Republicans like Job Bush support a shaky effort namely the Common Core that aimed at developing academic standards and strengthening the overall higher education system. Common Core however is considered to be a definite redundant overreach by the government by most other GOP presidential candidates. This has in fact become one of the derogatory, dirty words.

    Today, there is fierce debate on higher education with the election looming in the horizon. If we look closely enough, however, we see that debates have actually narrowed at the state level. There is no focus on education system reform now as much as was a year ago.

    How many charter schools should be opened is the question foremost in all conversations. Rather, it is imperative to focus on whether to open charter schools in the first place. Another hot topic of conversation among education enthusiasts is the type of test states should put in place to measure performance. The need of the hour is to decide on whether schools should be held accountable at all.

    When we look at the overall picture, it is not so gloomy after all. Though they have lost their initial impetus and initiative, Duncan and King and other serious education reformers can be rest assured that most of their goals are now a permanent part of the overall reform efforts.


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