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Obama’s Costly Education Legacy

18/01/2017   |   1 Comment

Writes Education Week’s Alyson Klein, “Obama swept into office in an enviable position for pushing his school agenda. His education secretary, Arne Duncan, had fans on both sides of the partisan aisle. The Democrats had hefty majorities in both chambers of Congress, where lawmakers were itching to update the No Child Left Behind Act. Obama hadn’t gotten the teachers unions’ endorsements, but won the Democratic nomination anyway, freeing him to push for policies the unions opposed, such as evaluations tied to test scores.”

Dreamstime ObamaShe goes on to remind readers that, thanks to his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to jump start the sluggish economy, he started with $100 billion to spend just on education–and that included $4.35 billion for his Race to the Top grant program. The initial one offered up to $700 million each to states if, in their applications, they went along with Obama’s education priorities: standardized tests, teacher evaluations based on student performance, turnaround policies for dealing with struggling schools, expanding data systems, and the Common Core Standards, too. Oh, yes, to win, states’ applications also had to be deemed praise-worthy all around by the powers that be.

Not surprisingly, hungry for money, just about every state Read the rest of this entry »

Some But Not All Hopeful Signs for 2017

17/01/2017   |   1 Comment

A recent New Year’s poll conducted by Associated Press-Times Square Alliance made some fascinating discoveries. Among them:Fotosearch cop hat k2064916

  • Just 18% said things got better for the country in 2016; 33% said things got worse; and 47% said nothing had changed since 2015.
  • 55% believe things will be better for them in 2017–a 12-point improvement from 2016.

Bottom line: Despite all the hysteria and hypothetical scenarios of disastrous outcomes being bandied about on the airwaves, the Internet, and in print about when Mr. Trump moves into the White House, a majority of Americans are hopeful about the way forward in 2017.

As for what happened that didn’t particularly matter according to the poll, 50% indicated Muhammad Ali’s death, 43% said the approval of recreational marijuana use in 4 states, and 40% said Fidel Castro’s death. Take from that what you will.

What did affect respondents in some significant way? For 51% of them, it was news stories about those who’d died at the hands of police officers and/or about ambush attacks on police in three states.

Meanwhile, a recent national Pew survey of 8,000 police officers found that:

  • “93 percent of officers say they’ve grown more concerned about their safety.
  •  76 percent are more now reluctant to use force when necessary.
  •  75 percent believe interactions between police and blacks have become more tense.
  • 72 percent say they’re more reluctant to stop and question suspicious-looking people.
  •  67 percent report being verbally abused.”

It’s the law of unintended consequences and worthy of attention.