Monday, July 05, 2004

NEA and Kerry

Yup, the nation's largest 'terrorist organization' endorses Kerry. This support, not surprising, comes as part of their national meeting in this election year. Making NCLB as the centerpoint of their agenda also makes a lot of sense. While education certainly seems to be on the back burner, I think it is a real issue when BushCo says this about NCLB: Dubya delivers on education promise. Uh, to whom does he deliver this promise? Regular people who put kids in public schools or corporate interests? Take your pick.

The NEA says they want to 'fix and fund' NCLB. While I completely agree with fix, I'm less happy about providing even more money for an atrocious bill. I'm sure that comes as a surprise to some but my reasoning comes from a totally different place than the DOE people.

Stan Karp, at Rethinking Schools, the must-read publication for progressive ed, discusses funding, a place where the twain shall never meet between the pro-NCLB and anti-NCLB sides. But the heart of his argument is this:
But while such massive investments are necessary to provide an adequate education for all children, money alone can't fix NCLB. Pouring money into NCLB as it is currently constructed means funneling much of it to testing companies, "supplemental tutorial providers," for-profit education companies, and voucher-inspired "choice" plans. NCLB needs to be transformed from a test, punish, and privatize law into a real school improvement law. The obsessive reliance on standardized testing (including the ridiculous "adequate yearly progress" system), the punitive sanctions, the chaotic transfer plans, and the educational malpractice that the law imposes on special-education and bilingual students all need major revision. Only if and when that happens can "full funding for NCLB" become a legitimate rallying cry for schools and their advocates. NCLB is one beast that needs to be tamed before it should be fed.
Kerry has stayed mum on NCLB so far, if anything, committing to fully funding it. I'm certain he's triangulating between the factions within the party. While I'm absolutely going to support Kerry despite what he (doesn't) say about NCLB, I have a sinking feeling in regards to education, he may fall in line with the so-called centrist policy thinktank in the Democratic party that aligns with corporate interests. His pick for Secretary of Education will say a lot about his true agenda. I'm hoping hoping hoping he will surprise me.