All education "insiders" disapprove of the way Congress handles education, according to a new report.
The report, called "Common Core, RTT-D, and Student Loans," was released this month by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting practice. The report surveys "a small group of key education influentials" on a variety of education related topics.
The surveyed individuals--typically numbering between 50 and 75--include policymakers, association heads, and Department of Education staff.
Only one-third of the insiders surveyed see the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- a far reaching piece of federal legislation affecting primary and secondary school funding, otherwise known as No Child Left Behind -- being reauthorized by the end of 2013. So far, 24 states have been granted waivers from the law in exchange for developing their own accountability plans that set new targets for raising achievement, improving teacher effectiveness, preparing students for college and careers and advancing low-performing schools.
“I'm being highly optimistic here. A lot will depend on the election," an anonymous participant said in the survey. "I'd say it's about 50-50 that it's done by then. Here's hoping.”
According to the report, 84 percent of insiders consider student debt to be a real problem affecting families.
Another 59 percent of insiders do not think Race to the Top -- a program in which states and districts compete against each other for funding -- was a good idea. A coalition of 16 education startups and policy organizations issued a letter earlier this month saying that Race to the Top innovates backwards, noting that the program "as currently conceived may not maximize return on our $400 million federal investment."
The Whiteboard Advisors paper similarly notes that a "surprisingly high number of insiders" are concerned that the program "undermines state policy and reforms."
Education insiders are also not impressed by Mitt Romney's education plan.
“Meh. Seems like a rehash of most GOP education plans, save for GWB," one insider said of Romney's plan. "Too heavily emphasizes choice options rather than focusing on how to truly improve our public schools.”
“Pander," said another.