Obama Plays Politics With Education Funding

Well the hoopla from the so-called “race to the top money” is over for now.  This is the “big” $ 4.5 billion education sweepstakes of the Obama administration and the supposedly “progressive thinking” Education Secretary Arnie Duncan.  Forty states applied for the grant but only two were chosen, Tennessee and Delaware.  The question is why?  Supposedly these states are putting in data systems in place to evaluate teachers and they have strong commitments for turning around bad schools in rural areas.  That all sounds good but other states that were finalists like Louisiana and Florida had similar plans.  What was the difference?  Simple; Tennessee and Delaware got the support of the unions.  The other states did not.  I don’t know about you but to us union support should be a negative!  If you want bold reforms, you have to allow states to cross the unions because the union are the ones preventing bold reforms.  Is it fair for the federal government to “punish” states who have agendas that are so reform-minded that the unions don’t support them?  Tennessee and Delaware also have some of the weakest legislation in regards to charter schools.  Wow, Mr. President that is change we can believe in!  I thought education was all about the children!    There is a new round of money coming in October, but a state can only get it if they do what the president and the education secretary have done; sell out to the education mafia.  How pathetic!

3 Responses to “Obama Plays Politics With Education Funding”

  1. give2attain Says:

    Does this mean that you believe all Unions are bad? No matter what they support?

    From my viewpoint, it would be advantageous and simplify things greatly if organized labor in the state is open to reform, pay for performance, etc. That is unless you are planning to overthrow the entrenched system. Which is unlikely in the short term.

    Whereas if organized labor is staunchly resisting the changes, you are pretty sure the changes will not happen… And if they do, it will be merely lip service.

    I hope those Unions are sincerely looking forward to helping improve their respective school systems. Only time will tell.

  2. 281 Exposed Says:

    It is not an either/or, Do we believe all unions are bad? No but that is way off the point. In the private sector we as consumers can choose to shop at Walmart or a union place. In the public the money is TAKEN and spent by third parties (i.e. the board negotiating with the unions).

    Yes we want to overthrow the system with tax credits and vouchers. We have to have competition. We have been “tweaking” this system and making “changes around the edges” for 50 years. Let’s try something new instead of the usual “more money.” Yes it is unlikely in the short term but there are some options like more charter schools or tax credits for home schooling. Right now 27% of school age children in ISD 281 are voting with their feet.

    I have no faith in the unions as an institution. There are great teachers inside the unions and I’m sure their are many who want to improve and reform but Tom Dooher and company at the top just want more money knowing 80% is just turned around and spent on employees. Here’s a question; Why is it 80% of our operating budget? Who invented 80% as a threshold? If you ask the district why they’ll just tell you “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

    As far as Obama and Duncan are concerned here is the point; Why do the unions have so much power? Why should their support or non-support determine who gets money. We thought education was all about the children. If we want changes and reform and increases in achievement then we should do what works, not just simply follow left or right wing ideology. Many states especially Florida and Louisiana had plans similar to Delaware and Tennessee but their unions kept resisting change. So the president and the education secretary penalize these states or more accurately the kids who go to school in these states? That is unacceptable conduct, period!

  3. give2attain Says:

    Sorry for the delay, I was internet deprived this weekend.

    Now since the topic is, “only vouchers and tax credits will do”. (ie privatization) I will voice my standard thoughts and questions.

    Vouchers and tax credits are a great idea for the middle class and wealthy. They allow those that pay taxes to use a portion of that money for their children’s education. This makes it easier for them to vote with their feet. So in Robbinsdale Area Schools, this is good for ~60% of the students.

    Now the question is, what to do with the other 40% (~4,400) students. A significant portion of these kids are much more expensive to teach than the typical student due to language, family, cultural, special needs and many other issues. Many of them likely do not pay much in taxes, so I am not sure if a tax credit would help. And it is unlikely that the voucher would be good for an education at any school no matter the child’s situation. (ie Parent’s make up the difference) Meaning, many of these families would need to stay in the public system…

    Another point is that of the 60%, ~10% or 660 kids are diagnosed as special needs. This means they are expensive. Same challenge, do we have variable vouchers to handle each child’s relative cost?

    In short, we would make it easier for the middle class, wealthy, and non-special needs students to flee RAS. While trapping the poor or special needs students in RAS. This will drive down test scores and increase cost per student, therefore it will appear that the public schools are failing even worse.

    Help me understand your model’s view regarding addressing the needs of our ~5,060 students. Thanks John

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