Tag Archives: federal vs. local control

Obama Administration’s Handling of Education Survey Results

First, I want to thank those of you who participated in the survey. The response was up 65% from last month.

The EducationBug survey question this month is:

Do you think the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are doing a good job of leading the country in the right direction with education?

The answer choices are:

• Yes: they really “get it.”

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

• Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

• No, some things are okay, but Race to the Top and the national standards are a major step in the wrong direction in terms of educational quality and giving up local control.

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

Other (please specify)

We have more than twice as many votes cast as we did when I prepared the halfway report on August 16.

Here are the results:

170 people voted. One ‘Other’ response was deleted for being offensive, but definitely counted in the ‘No.” category, however, it is not counted in the results. One ‘Other’ response was deleted for not being germane to the question. It did not express an opinion on the topic, so could not be counted. One criticized the Obama administrations economic policy, but did not mention schools. Therefore, 167 votes.

Overall, there were 42 ‘Yes’ votes, 112 ‘No’ votes, and 13 ‘Other’ votes, of which 12 were fairly negative and one was reserved positive. The percentages then are:

No—74%
Yes—26%

Compare this to the halfway point, when we had 81 votes with 6 fairly negative ‘Other’ votes and one reserved positive, and the percents were:

No—75%
Yes—25%

So almost identical percentages, even when the number of participants more than doubled.

The answer that received absolutely the most votes was:

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

with 46 votes (27.5%).

A close second was:

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

with 42 votes (25.1%).

The least chosen answer was:

• “Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.”

with 5 votes (3%).

There are differences in the percentages, but these were the identical leaders and losers as at the halfway point.

The positive answer that received the most responses was

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

with 21 votes (12.6%).

The ‘Other’ responses were as follows. They have been lightly edited for typos and clarity.

1. No, as an educator the No Child Left Behind Act is just another mandate that makes new rules for the administration enforce on its staff. It needs to be rewritten. if you need help in that – give me a call

2. No. Obama asked all Americans to return to school for a better education. Education tuition increased almost 7% for our state. He removed Educational tax credits and reductions.

Additionally, struggling families with children (like mine) who are trying to do the right thing and return to school are now losing the child tax credits (my family loses $2,000. in 2011 – that is my college tution). Americans are drowning in debt, losing their homes and their jobs and we can’t get a break. A “promise” of not having a dime increase for families that make under 200,000.” was broken a long time ago. America is asleep as the country is being run aground. Check out the new tax laws taking affect in 6 months. Taxes on soda, tanning, PIZZA and even bottled water. America is dying quickly due to this administration. Throw us a line on educational credits and tax exemptions!

3. I can’t wait for the next election

4. Let the people who are doing the job, do their job and make the necessary changes in the system. The government should respect that.

5. need funding to hire the staff for inclusion -and for some a child with an IQ of 60 may never learn like a child with an IQ of 90 -and home environment -kids go to school with toothaches, sick, worried about home, yelling in the morning that upsets them by the time they arrive, hungry because the only food they get is at school -but heaven forbid they comprise more then 3%

6. While there should be *some* overarching accountability and assessment federally, local areas are probably better able to determine the needs of their own students. The money put into administering ought to be moved to educating, and then I imagine we would find that the budget crunch would largely disappear. It is amazing to me when schools cut three teachers or four staff, but leave all the high cost administrative bloat in place.

7. After 10 years in education I have left the classroom and taken my 3 children with me, we will be homeshooling from now on. Until NCLB is recognized as the “Every Child Held Back” program that it is and we stop punishing teachers for going into the most illiterate schools in the country by touting Pay for Performance as a means of rewarding teachers that take the easy way out, it really isn’t that hard to teach children who can read and write BEFORE coming to school and who have parental support; well until that time my children and I will not set foot in a public school again.

8. not so rigid on certification for international teachers who are already certified and brilliant on their country.And no discrimination on application.They are employing a lot of international teachers not knowing they are victimized by private agencies hiring them back home charging them their whole salary upon employment and leaving them destitute and not to be renewed for the next school year because of the probationary certificate for the expensive visa they have paid from hard work. May the government have pity on the poor but bright international teachers that they are hiring for lack of teachers in science, math and sped in the USA.

9. Education is one of the small things in these bad economical times. Obama needs to get the economy better before he tries anything big like education.

10. NCLB needs a major over-haul, less emphasis on AYP and less testing requirements. Students should not be tested every year, every other is plenty. National standards are already in place and working well. Merit pay could work if done right: it should be based on teacher performance and training, not student performance. Race to the Top as it stands will harm students. The biggest change that needs to happen is FUNDING REFORM. School funding should not be linked to property tax. At least half of school funding should come from the federal government. Our schools are not equitable and no amount of reform will help our students until school funding is equitable.

11. I’M HOMESCHOOLING AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO ANYBODY BUT ME AND GOD.

12. Get rid of the Unions and schools might have a chance!

13. more vouchers and school choice, they are good on charter schools

August Survey Halfway Report

Halfway through our August survey on the Obama administration’s education leadership, we bring you a report of the results so far. If you haven’t yet participated in our August survey, you can vote here.

The survey question this month is:

Do you think the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are doing a good job of leading the country in the right direction with education?

The answer choices are:

• Yes: they really “get it.”

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

• Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

• No, some things are okay, but Race to the Top and the national standards are a major step in the wrong direction in terms of educational quality and giving up local control.

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

Other (please specify)

So far, 81 votes have been cast, with 19 people (23.4%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘Yes,’ 55 (67.9%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘No,’ and 7 (8.6%) choosing ‘Other’ and leaving a comment.

The leading answer is: “No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more,” which has 33.3% of the vote.

Second place goes to: “No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way,” with 24.7% of the vote.

The least chosen answer is: “Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with,” with 2.5% of the vote.

The responses to ‘Other’ include the following (lightly edited for typos, etc.):

• “After 10 years in education I have left the classroom and taken my 3 children with me, we will be homeshooling from now on. Until NCLB is recognized as the “Every Child Held Back” program that it is and we stop punishing teachers for going into the most illiterate schools in the country by touting Pay for Performance as a means of rewarding teachers that take the easy way out, it really isn’t that hard to teach children who can read and write BEFORE coming to school and who have parental support; well until that time my children and I will not set foot in a public school again.”

• “not so rigid on certification for international teachers who are already certified and brilliant on their country. And no discrimination on application. They are employing a lot of international teachers not knowing they are victimized by private agencies hiring them back home, charging them their whole salary upon employed and leaving them destitute and not to be renewed for the next school year because of the probationary certificate for the expensive visa they have paid from hard work. May the government have pity on the poor but bright international teachers that they are hiring for lack of teachers in science, math and special ed in the USA.”

• “Education is one of the small things in these bad economic times. Obama needs to get the economy better before he tries anything big like education.”

• “NCLB needs a major over-haul, less emphasis on AYP [Annual Yearly Progress] and less testing requirements. Students should not be tested every year, every other is plenty. National standards are already in place and working well. Merit pay could work if done right: it should be based on teacher performance and training, not student performance. Race to the Top as it stands will harm students. The biggest change that needs to happen is FUNDING REFORM. School funding should not be linked to property tax. At least half of school funding should come from the federal government. Our schools are not equitable and no amount of reform will help our students until school funding is equitable.”

• “I’M HOMESCHOOLING AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO ANYBODY BUT ME AND GOD.”

• “Get rid of the Unions and schools might have a chance!”

• “more vouchers and school choice—they are good on charter schools

If you haven’t yet voted, we’d like to include your opinion for our final report, so please take the survey here.

National Standards Survey Final Results

Do you think the United States should have national standards for K–12 education?

• Yes, we need consistency.
• Yes, it would improve the standards in my state.
• No, setting the standards should be done at the state level.
• No, it would lessen the standards in my state.
• Other (please specify).

This month, along with some blog posts on standards, we asked you to consider your stance on the subject and vote in our survey. In conjunction with this, we switched to a one-question survey that provided four set answers as well as the choice to fill in an answer of your own.

By this morning, 186 people had answered the survey, so the number has more than doubled since the interim report on June 18, when there were 92 respondents. Today, I’m providing final results, but keep in mind that this is not a scientific survey.

Comparisons with Interim Report

On June 18, I reported that more than half of respondents favor national standards, either for consistency or because they feel it would be an improvement over their state standards. On June 30, the number who favor national standards approaches three-quarters.

On June 18, I reported that more people who do not want national standards chose that option because they thought that it is a task that belongs to the local level rather than because it would lower their own state’s standards. On June 30, the preference is even more pronounced, at a little less than 6 to 1.

On June 18, there were 12 responses that were ‘Other.’ On June 30, with more than twice as many respondents, the number has only increased to 16.

Final Stats

• The overall vote was 129 for ‘Yes’ and 41 for ‘No,’ with 16 entering an answer in ‘Other.’ In percentages, that’s 69.3% for ‘Yes,’ 22.1% for ‘No,’ and 8.6% for ‘Other.’

• The response with the absolute greatest number of responses was ‘Yes, we need consistency,’ which garnered 59.1% of all responses.

• The second-place response was ‘No, setting the standards should be done at the state level, with 18.3%.

• While 10.2% of respondents thought that national standards would improve the standards in their state, 3.8% felt that national standards would lessen standards in their state.

• 77.4% of respondents based their answer on the principle of where the standards should be set, while 14% based their answer on the practical results.

Some of the comments in ‘Other’ are difficult to add in. My best assessment is that there are 7 Yes’s—most of them conditional—and 4 No’s. If this is correct, it brings the overall tally to 136 ‘Yes’ and 45 ‘No.’

• The ‘Other’ responses specified some ways in which respondents think the national standards and local standards should interact, but there is not agreement on what that relationship will be (some responses have been lightly edited for spelling and grammar so as not to detract from content):

—”[W]e need national standards that … each state may choose to build up from but not down.

—”National Standards [should be treated as] a core so as not to negatively affect the standards in some states with more rigorous standards but … these core standards [should be] incorporated in every state’s curriculum.”

—”Yes, and [the national standards] should be higher than that of the state with the highest standards. America needs to catch up with the rest of the world.”

• ‘Other’ respondents also had some comments on testing. For example, one respondent said that if national standards would necessitate more testing, s/he would vote ‘No.’

• One ‘Other’ comment suggests that the business of education is better left to free enterprise than to the government at any level.

• One ‘Other’ response suggests that education decisions be made by educators, and specifically suggests that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is not qualified [n.b., Duncan worked in a tutoring program for inner city children (run by his mother) in Chicago and has administered education programs, helped start a school, and been CEO of the Chicago Public Schools; his college major was sociology, and he does not seem to have an education degree, or to have spent time as a classroom teacher, but his career has been focused on education.]

• One ‘Other’ response says that if there are going to be federal standards, there should be federal funding to go with.

• One ‘Other’ respondent points out—correctly, I might add—that constitutionally, the power to make decisions about education belongs to the states. From Cornell University Law School “Education Law: An Overview“:

“Each state is required by its state constitution to provide a school system whereby children may receive an education. State legislatures exercise power over schools in any manner consistent with the state’s constitution.” One special exception is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law covering special education.

These points raise some interesting questions . . . What do you think, now that the survey results are all in? Please comment!

Sources

ed.gov/news/staff/bios/duncan.html