Monday, March 15, 2010

The blueprint: more questions than answers.

When we are talking about, say, buildings, the word “blueprint” means a detailed model of what a structure is going to look like. When we are talking about federal education policy, it turns out “blueprint” means something far vaguer. Though it is 41 pages, the “Blueprint for Reform” that the Obama administration has just released does not give me a great understanding of how a [insert new clever name for ESEA here] world would, in practical terms, look different from an NCLB world, aside from a growth model, a tougher definition of restructuring and an eventual move from a teacher qualifications model to a teacher effectiveness one. Or, what a lot of real people truly want to know: Who will be tested, when and how exactly will the scores be evaluated?

I broke up with “Lost” last year because the questions piled on so much faster than the answers. In this case, however, I am sure time will provide clarity as details are sorted through. In the meantime, my first few admittedly random thoughts:

—Congratulations, Gender, on your apparent ascension to subgroup status! I can hear my colleague Richard Whitmire applauding from here.

—The blueprint emphasizes that effective teachers be more equitably distributed. NCLB had rules about this too, but they went unenforced. How will the feds do better this time around?

—Everyone loves the idea of a “well-rounded education,” but how do the feds plan to encourage this exactly?

1 comment:

  1. You ask important questions here. Ironic that the ESEA reauthorization proposal also generates as many questions as LOST. However, unlike LOST, education is a profession and a service and a need that deserves these kinds of questions and the participation of entire communities.

    Can you think of another "industry" category that would compel so much hands-on shaping and shifting by people other than the elite? For sure, banking regulation may anger the masses, but you won't see the guys that run the convenient store down my block rushing off to Washington to testify, argue, hold up placards. They may, however, have a lot to say (and will be heard) about education.