FROM Anya Kamenetz
Obama Aims to Reduce Testing Time for Students President Obama is meeting with teachers and school officials today to talk about reducing testing time for students. On Saturday, he admitted that there is too much testing in public schools. Right now, big city school district's average about 112 mandatory standardized tests a year.
Changes to No Child Left Behind For the first time since 2001, both the House and the Senate have passed new versions of No Child Left Behind… two jumbo bills that, when reconciled, will set the tone for federal education policy in the US. And a lot of federal education policy revolves around testing. How much is too much? And how does the Common Core figure into the testing landscape?
Common Core: The Obamacare of the Classroom? Common Core standards for math and reading were adopted by 45 governors, but they’ve since become a political football. Anne Hyslop is a policy analyst at the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners who’s been tracking the backlash for foundations, school districts and other interested parties. Florida’s former Governor Jeb Bush is one potential Republican candidate who has not backed down on support for Common Core. Here’s an apparent challenge from Texas Senator Ted Cruz: "If you say you oppose Common Core, show me where you where you stood up and fought." Meanwhile, Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich is a full-throated supporter of Common Core: "Barack Obama doesn't set it, the state of Ohio doesn't set it. It is local school boards driving better education, higher standards, created by local school boards... Part of the problem is today politicians are running to try and to get votes." Jeannie Metcalf is a 20 year veteran of the school board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She’s also co-chair of a commission created by the state legislature to “review and replace” Common Core.
Ranking College Rankings College rankings are an annual ritual this time of year. And the list of lists keeps growing. The most high-profile list of ranked American colleges comes from U.S. News and World Report, which put out its latest today. But Washington Monthly, CNN Money, Forbes and the New York Times are just a few of the many, many other outlets that have gotten into the college-grading game. How can would-be applicants make sense of it all?
The Growing Scandal in Student Loans Education Secretary Margaret Spelling heads to Capitol Hill tomorrow to answer questions about student loans . With tuitions rising toward $50,000 a year at top institutions, student lending is an $85 billion industry. Investing in education is a lot like buying a car, with discounts and interest rates as important as faculty qualifications or student performance. Private lenders compete with the federal government, and friendly college administrators have taken gifts, trips and stock options. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is just one investigator into reports of unethical and possibly illegal practices that include kickbacks to college loan officers who've recommended private lenders to parents and students. Yesterday, Theresa Shaw, Spelling's top student-loan overseer announced her resignation. How can students and parents tell if they're getting their money's worth? Is the Department of Education doing its job? Why is it so expensive to go to school?
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.