Ed’s Money – Arne Duncan and the education stimulus

A report this morning in the NY Times details how Education Secretary will spend the $100 billion the Department of Education will receive from the stimulus plan.

Even though 90% of states say they are meeting standards everyone has a hand out for more cash. I am pleased to say that Duncan will now bow to “reformers” who insist on throwing money at the education problems in this country. Duncan will link merit based teacher pay and school performance to who gets what.

from NY Times

Mr. Duncan said he intended to reward school districts, charter schools and nonprofit organizations that had demonstrated success at raising student achievement — “islands of excellence,” he called them. Programs that tie teacher pay to classroom performance will most likely receive money, as will other approaches intended to raise teacher quality, including training efforts that pair novice instructors with veteran mentors, and after-school and weekend tutoring programs.

To receive a share of the $54 billion stabilization fund, governors must make several “assurances” to Mr. Duncan, intended to drive school reforms: that they are developing statewide data systems that can allow schools to track individual students’ academic progress, that they are assigning experienced teachers fairly to rich and poor schools alike, and so on. Mr. Duncan has the ticklish job of ruling on whether the governors’ assurances are convincing.

And Congress has given him a $5 billion incentive fund that he can use to reward states that are raising student achievement and withhold money from states that are not. “We have states that tell the public that 90 percent of kids are meeting state standards,” Mr. Duncan said, “but when we look at how they’re doing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, it’s nowhere close. I’m not going to reward that. I want to be transparent about the good, bad and the ugly.”

Common sense prevails. I had high hopes for Arne Duncan when he was appointed. There were riotous shouts from the status-quo reformers over Duncan receiving the job over Linda Darling-Hammond. Duncan has made me proud. Teacher’s Unions are bound to hate being held accountable to receive money, but too bad. It’s about time someone held educators accountable for our children’s progress.


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