June 17, 2011


After the report on American kids not knowing much history, the intarwebs are full of commentary about it. The righties are babbling on about liberal teacher's unions making it impossible to fire bad teachers, and the left is predictably whining about Republican cuts to the education system.

There's way more to it, however. It's not just decades of neglet to our education system, although that's a large part of it. Even Shrub tried to help with his ineffective "No child left behind" program. The trouble with all that's been done is that with the climate in Washington, everything comes off half-baked. If a Republican comes up with an idea, Democrats shoot holes in it until what's left has no resemblance to the earlier policy, and vice versa.  That, I think, is why NCLB is such a failure. All it really entails now is a series of fill in the dots tests that encourage nothing more challenging than teachers teaching to the tests, rather than trying to create an atmosphere of learning.

The Obama administration early on said that one of its goals was to pay teachers what they were worth and create an environment where great teachers would be able to earn a commensurate salary, and poor teachers would be weeded out. So very predictably, he fell afoul of both the Republicans and his own party. The Republicans were going to have nothing to do with any plan that contained a provision for public employees to possibly make more money. The Dems, on the other hand feared alienating teacher's unions.

Bottom line, as usual, nothing is being done. Only more talk of cutting programs for our kids.

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