Back to Basics: Get the Feds Out

06/30/2010 05:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Susan Ohanian Fellow, Education and the Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University

Doug, a longtime science teacher in Alaska, makes this observation:

"It is really interesting to me that President Obama can let BP
take the lead in cleaning up the disaster in the Gulf, and yet teachers
have got hedge fund managers, mayors, think tank policy wonks,
billionaire vulture capitalists, and no real education experts, calling
the shots on public school "reform," with Arne Duncan as department
head, whose teaching experience comes from volunteering at his mom's
after school program (He actually says this, as if it means something!)
mouthing a bunch of nonsense about educating our way to a better
economy and making education the civil rights issue of our generation.
Well, no. The economy tanked because of a monumental failure of
government to regulate the financial industry, and manufacturing long
ago moved out of the country. And before we can talk about civil
rights, we need to straighten out some things with health care, endless
war, mass incarceration, racism and immigration, and state-sponsored

Borderland blog, June 16, 2010

When BP chief executive Tony Hayward appeared before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Chairman Henry Waxman said the Committee reviewed 30,000 documents related to the oil disaster and found "no evidence that you (Hayward) paid any attention to the tremendous risks BP was taking." Likewise no one at the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, or the House and Senate education committees etc. is paying any attention to the tremendous risks the U. S. Department of Education is taking with its money bribes to the states.

Why does Vermont allow the Feds to dictate who should work in ten Vermont schools? The answer is a one-time $8.5 million handout. We sell our children cheaply.

Prediction: In the long run, the money fountain at the U. S. Department of Education will do more harm to our national well-being than the BP oil gusher. The Obama/Duncan ramping up of the discredited Reading First, their co-opting of state education policy through the bribery of Race to the Top and the other initiatives that travel under the name of reform will put a generation of children's public school lives in shambles as national standards and tests are delivered by the truckload from corporate America, and test prep takes over any pretense of curriculum.