July 16, 2015

ESEA Is Our Sector’s Iran Deal, Charters And Pre-K, Teachers And Social Security, Which Candidate Has The Worst Charter Sector? In-N-Out And Teaching, Space Nerds Unite!

By Bellwether

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It’s ESEApalooza in the Senate. You can look at the various votes here. Final vote coming. [Update: It’s in the books now]. They’re already sick of education (Breaking – it’s not the top priority despite all the rhetoric). When Senator McConnell, the majority leader, decided to push for cloture earlier this week that was basically, “OK, enough of this, let’s get on to some real work,” hence the amendment deal and strong vote to move forward.

More interesting was how the accountability vote went down. The Democratic caucus was with just two exceptions unified around an amendment by Chris Murphy of Connecticut to put some minimal accountability back into the law. This is symbolically noteworthy because Connecticut was a serial offender on No Child Left Behind including an unsuccessful lawsuit against the law by then AG now United States Senator Richard Blumenthal (who supported the Murphy amendment) that included NAACP intervention – against the state! Takeaways:

– There is real fatigue around accountability. This amendment was as good as it was going to get and although it was strongly supported by key civil rights groups it was far from their ideal. They’re going to continue the fight they say.

– The NEA – they opposed the amendment  – said they were going to score the vote to hold lawmakers accountable. But that’s hard to do when the Dem caucus stays mostly unified like that. May help explain the outcome. Key civil rights groups were scoring it, too. And a lot of grumbling behind the scenes about the NEA on this one. In other words it may be more illustrative of the politics than where people actually are on the issue.

– But just like Iran this unsatisfying status quo may be the only alternative to a war that no one wants?

More here.


I’m a space nerd (and space flight doesn’t hurt our science education). I keep a signed picture of Scott Crossfield and the X-15 that he gave me in my home office, it’s that bad.

Pre-k and charter policy need to align better to serve more kids.  Be sure to check out The 74.  A lot of good stuff there.  With Friedrichs pending before the SCOTUS some survey data about what teachers think about various dues schemes ($).  Whiteboard Advisors is growing! Check out the new additions. The states the presidential candidates come from or have led have some real variance in terms of how good their charter school sector is. Enrolling all teachers in Social Security is good policy for them and good retirement policy more generally. But it costs money and the teachers unions are little help. So states come up with reasons not to do it for the 40 percent of teachers who are not in the system now.

Chad Aldeman, who kind of has that Brad Hamilton thing going on, is heavy on the high school policy beat here and here.

I recently took John Bailey and Mieka Wick to their first In-N-Out Burger. Interesting company in addition to being delicious. They take burger making more seriously than this sector takes teaching quality. Seriously, they do. At Bellwether we fantasize about opening a Tim Horton’s franchise.

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