Wednesday, April 8, 2009

D.O.E. culture

The Post explains why it's taken so long to staff the new DOE? I'm more concerned with the kind of culture being created there.

At the Department of Education, spokesman John McGrath said only a small number of young people have been hired, because higher-ranking slots have yet to be filled. "Those senior people will want to be involved in the hiring decisions" for the lower jobs, McGrath said. "Most of the young people hired so far are people either from the campaign or Capitol Hill. We're giving special attention to people who have an education background -- we've had a lot from Teach for America."

Questions: By "lower jobs" does McGrath mean staff working more with school districts? By "education background," does McGrath mean mainly TFA types? Uh oh!


While the Limbaugh Party continues to call Obama's ed policies "socialist," Diane Ravitch, from her perch at the Fordham Institute, comes at them from behind, still feeding her Obama=Bush nonsense to Edweek ("Obama echoes Bush on education ideas") and making it seem as though charter schools had somehow become the biggest dividing issue in education.

There's no doubt plenty of voucher/privatization/testing/DFER types gathered around Duncan's DOE. Some are even worse than Spellings' crew in their hunger to cash in on DOE contracts. But Ravitch intentionally ignores Obama's openly critical view of Bush testing policies. Why? And at a time when Bush economic policies threaten the very existence of public education, Obama's school funding looks a lot different than the previous administration's and could be the only thing that saves hundreds of schools and thousands of teaching positions in the most depressed communities.

The struggle continues.


  1. There has been a "beltway consensus" since the late 1980s is that the way to improve el-hi is via "standards." When "Goals 2000" failed, the belief was that some "enforcement" was needed. Hence mandated testing with standardized tests and sanctions with "adequate yearly progress."
    The "education stimulus" takes the failed policy along the same road, with the added provisions that "reforms" have to effected by spending the money as fast as possible, while saving jobs, and not investing in anything that will have sustained costs. That's hardly "Change we can believe in" is it?

    The thing is, the federal ed money will not even cover the state and local shortfalls in most states.

    One can only hope that President Obama and Secretary Duncan learn fast from "on the job training."

  2. I agree with your main points, Dick. We're all waiting to see how this translates on the K-12 re-authorization. But the stimulus, with all its problems, is the only thing that stands between public ed and collapse.

    Also, how do we oppose people like Sanford in South Carolina, who is refusing the school stim $$$ for many of the same reasons? Trying to starve his own schools into "reform?"

  3. Ravitch and Bush are both for national standards, ergo Ravitch=Bush. Right?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.