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Give credit where credit is due: Even though the Republican majority in the Senate seems eager to privatize public schools, for fun and credit and to satisfy their inner Ayn Rand, they did something right: they eliminated former Secretary of Education John King’s regulations to measure the effectiveness of teacher education. King wanted to judge teacher education institutions by student test scores. It was likely if not inevitable that teachers who went to affluent districts would get better results than those who taught in the neediest schools.
Teacher educators lambasted King’s effort to micromanage teacher education and warned that his demands would drive teachers away from high-needs schools.
This is one example where deregulation was necessary and didn’t make matters worse.
The Senate also voted to roll back an Obama administration rule to “hold schools accountable,” which passed by only 50-49, over vociferous Democratic opposition. Frankly, I don’t know which rule this is. If it was the Obama-Duncan-King test-based accountability, then I think its repeal or elimination is a step forward. As we saw again and again over the past eight years, the Obama Department of Education had an obsessive devotion to test-based accountability that harmed students, teachers, and schools. If this is what the Senate knocked down, count me in. Even the znational Academy of Sciences issued a report critical of test-based accountability, but Duncan was as smitten with standardized testing as DeVos is smitten with vouchers.