Monday, June 7, 2010

Race to Mediocrity

NJ Governor, Chris Christie's town hall speech last week was terrific. He rightly accused teachers unions of forcing teachers to pay dues then using a substantial portion of that money, not to improve the quality of education, but to further their political agenda.

About the same time, someone sent me this article: Standardizing Mediocrity in America’s Public Schools. I have heard almost every teacher I know, complain about No Child Left Behind. They say it forces them to teach to the test, that it's more like No Child Rises Above. One teacher actually had hopes that Obama would get rid of No Child Left Behind.

Instead, we get Race to the Top. This thing was crammed into last fall's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and provides over $4 Billion to school districts who "advance reforms around four specific areas:
  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
  • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools."
Sounds harmless enough so far until we learn that the winners, consisting of a minimum of 15 states, are then legally bound to adopt the standards and assessments. 15 states that will then become partners with the US Department of Education to provide standardized curricula to the rest of the country. Am I skipping a few steps in between? Sure. But this sure looks like a Nudge to me.

Remember, these are the same people who did away with the wildly successful voucher program in DC. I'm highly suspicious anytime the federal government sticks its nose in things that should be handled on a state and local level.


  1. Wow--Great Christie video! He makes a powerful indictment of the union system in this country--not just the teachers but the auto workers- Think General, er, make that Government Motors, and the SEIU. Hey BHO, how do you pronounce INDICTMENT? Maybe you could ask a CORPSMAN!

  2. Another outstanding post, Kristin! You're fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers.

    This race to mediocrity has been going on for a long time, and now it's kicked into high gear. The irony is that BO bemoans America's lag in educational achievement . . . when it's due, directly and solely, to what progressives have done to education and society. They are to blame for our mediocrity, they and no one else.

  3. Thank you, Fuzzy. That means a lot coming from an excellent and experienced blogger like you!

  4. Excellence is no longer the word used in school or work. One must remain mediocre in order to "get along" Even creative right-brain functions like music and art are being reduced in school curriculum in favor of left-brain logic. The human soul requires full-brain functioing (both hemishperes working at maximum) to generate brilliant ideas, and ultimately to be the best that each of us can be.