Monday, March 07, 2005

The Spellings Report: Secretary Hypes Administration's Education Goals And Budget

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is already making the rounds touting the Administration's education budget for the upcoming year. On March 2nd, the Secretary informed a Senate Panel of the Administration's plans to expand the No Child Left Behind Act to America's public high schools.

Regarding planned expenditures, Spellings told members of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee:

"This budget expands the promise of No Child Left Behind to our nation's high schools. Call it what you will- a challenge, a problem or a crisis. But it is imperative that we give our high schools the tools to succeed in an economy in which 80 percent of the fastest-growing jobs will require some post-secondary education."
To meet the challenges facing our nation's high schools, Spellings noted, the president's budget includes $1.24 billion for High School Intervention, a program to give high school students the academic skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

And to increase accountability, the budget provides $250 million for high school assessments so that principals and teachers will have new tools and data to better meet the learning needs of individual students.

It's interesting to note that in spite of all this increased accountability for us educators, Spellings continues to fail to mention any accountability for the other two components that are vitally needed in order to affect meaningful reform of our educational system: parents, and the students themselves.

But holding parents accountable for their children's effort and motivation is just fraught with political risk, isn't it? It's much easier politically to blame teachers and administrators when things don't measure up to the standards of educational excellence that are set by a well-entrenched Washington bureaucracy.

Update:(PM) has information about a shake-up of personnel over at The U.S. Department of Education. Eduwonk also has a copy of Secretary Spellings' memo regarding the new bureaucratic structure. According to Eduwonk:
What does it mean? Power consolidation. Spellings is going to make sure that she's got her thumbs on the right stuff or that people she trusts do to ensure that she doesn't have an Armstrong Williams-style episode on her watch.
We hope that the disruption that is caused by this restructuring doesn't result in even more bureaucratic confusion.

An Invitation: Please consider contributing to The Carnival Of Education: Week 5. All submissions should be received by 10:00 PM (Pacific) next Tuesday, March 8. They may be sent to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. Get all the details here. The Carnival will open here at The Wonks Wednesday morning.

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