Would Be Governors, Please, Ignore Fordham’s Ed Policy Cheat Sheet

I’ve noted Rick Hess and Sofia Gallo’s piece at Real Clear Policy which pointed out in the 36 gubernatorial contests this year, candidates are not saying a whole lot about education.

Well never fear Mike Petrilli with the Fordham Institute provides a cheat sheet at Real Clear Education.

Would be Governors, please, ignore it.

His first suggestion.

“Build thousands of new seats in high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs.”

Hess and Gallo pointed out the one thing Governors have talked about is CTE. Workforce development is all the rage, and unfortunately, it has gutted education. It’s an unproven fad; it makes K-12 education subservient to corporate America, and students don’t come out of the pipeline with a well-rounded education. Companies need to pay for their employee training, and now they expect schools to do it.

So please, ignore the education reformer lingo. If you want to do something bold, talk up classical education. Otherwise, you are just parroting the latest jargon.

“Raise the bar for teacher tenure.”

Raise the bar? How about eliminating the bar by getting rid of teacher tenure. Who else does this beyond academia? I’m happy my home state of Iowa does not have tenure for K-12 teachers. It should be considered anathema.

Be bold, work to get rid of it.

“Thread the needle on curriculum reform.”

Petrilli writes:

For states with strong standards, assessments, and accountability systems — and gladly, that’s many more states than in the past — the next step is effective implementation.

Stop, lousy advice; governors should have absolutely NOTHING to say about curriculum. Leave curriculum decisions with locally-elected school boards. Also “effective implementation” of curriculum aligned to subpar standards and assessments is an oxymoron anyway.

Here’s the real cheat sheet.

1. Demand REAL flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Every Student Succeeds Act continues to expect states to ask the Secretary of Education “mother may I.” Governors need to strive to cut the apron strings. Governors who discuss this on the campaign trail, along with a plan for accomplishing that, are the bold candidates.

2. Quality standards, not subpar, top-down standards.

Would-be governors need to talk about how they will genuinely rid, not rebrand but rid their state of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. States can write their academic standards. Be even more radical and encourage local school districts to adopt their own.

We sent men to the moon with centralized standards, but if a state must have state, rather than local school district, standards then make sure they are quality, evidence-based, actually benchmarked, and field tested unlike what most states currently have.

3. End testing mania

Reduce the amount of assessments students have to take in your state. Support a parent’s right to opt their student out. That would be a fresh idea. That would be bold.

4. Protect student data.

Support and cheerlead legislation that severely reduces the amount of data that schools can collect. Also, leave individual student data with local schools. States should only have access to aggregate student data and even very little of that. Then eliminate any third-party access to student data. Also, mandate parental consent for data collection and protect a parent’s right to opt their student out of data collection beyond what is necessary.

Would-be governors who talk up these ideas I could get excited about.

6 thoughts on “Would Be Governors, Please, Ignore Fordham’s Ed Policy Cheat Sheet

  1. Figures it would come from Petrilli. He lives just outside of DC in a very wealthy suburb, sitting away from everything. Sure, his kids go to the public schools, but the public schools in that area of MD have “0” FARMS students. There is no poverty or even middle class in Petrilli’s area of town, so how would he even begin to understand what is right for those other people’s children. Test scores are high where Petrilli’s kids go to school because they get honest to goodness curriculum and common core is just an after thought. The PTA coffers in that area of town are overflowing with dollars for lots of fun educational programs. When you live walled off from everything in a land of rainbows and unicorns, it’s easy to make rules for everyone else.


  2. Ivanka Trump needs to be educated about CTE (career and technical education) and public school education. Ivanka was in Iowa this week promoting workforce development and skills-based education.

    The feds should get out of education entirely and send it back to the states and local control – local control is the only way to fix it. Students should have a great foundation in the 3 R’s by 8th grade that too many are not getting. I also know that many high school students are bored out of their minds because they have been left behind without any productive path to success which leads many to alcohol, drugs, etc. In Lisa M.’s comment, she mentions “curriculum” which is key to fixing education and making education great again.

    I believe that you, Shane, have #2 wrong in regards to “standards” and I will explain why. (Bill and Hillary Clinton created standards-based education – yes “Hillarycore.”) Pres. Bill Clinton started standards-based education nationally in 1994 and broke off local control then when he passed Goals 2000 (also known as Outcome Based Education) – before that we had “curriculum” not “standards” in education. Then, in 2001, Pres. George W. Bush passed No Child Left Behind which solidified mandatory standards in education by adding federal penalties for noncompliance. In 2010, we got Common Core under Pres. Obama.Therefore, I believe that it is wrong to say that we sent men to the moon with centralized standards, but instead education pre-1965 was based on high-quality curriculum – providing students with a great foundation in the 3 R’s which allowed them to go anywhere in life, even to the moon, and could still apply today.

    Further, since 1965 and Pres. Johnson’s “war on poverty,” U.S. education has been steadily declining, and standards have only been used in U.S. education since 1994 – before that, standards were introduced in Arkansas while Bill Clinton was governor there. Dr. Peg Luksik at foundedontruth.com has helped me connect so many dots in the decline of education – she explains why children should not be standardized, and I encourage you to check her information out. Peg also explains the costs in education in her last conference call post – that the feds pay less than 10% yet they have so much control. (Peg’s homepage has a tweet posted on 3/14/18 announcing that she is running for Lt. Gov. of PA – I believe that she deserves all the support that she can get to win!)

    It is time to close the U.S. Dept. of Ed. and restore local control, end the testing mania, protect student data, and restore pre-1965 inexpensive high-quality, easy-to-use curriculum – when 8th grade graduates had a better education than many 12th grade graduates today (like the inexpensive high-quality curriculum that I used in homeschooling my 3 grown children) – that was without any preschool programs which now is allowing government to take control of parenting in the formative years!

    (I have put together information that explains the decline in education in more detail that I would be happy to provide to you.)

    Janet R.


  3. Excellent suggestions. I sent this article to one of the candidate running for Governor in TN. The only candidate we had running (Sen. Mae Beavers) that tried as Governor to rid TN of Common Core got squashed. She isn’t a millionaire (good sign right there). She also voted against TN’s application for Race To The Top (said it was a violation of the 10th Amendment). We had an excellent 11 page bill this session that would have protected children’s PII and SEL data from being collected and shared unless parents gave informed (the bill defined informed) written consent. It was our hope that once parents saw what was being shared and why they would refuse to give consent. The bill was squashed for fear it would interfere with federal funds. So once again our children were sold up the river for a few pieces of federal silver.


  4. I just wanted to thank you for this site. I love that it’s about the kids and it’s not a political site that changes what it believes or focuses on or criticizes whenever a new president is put in because of politics. I’ve started to get more news from neutral non-profits in specialized areas rather than one-stop tells all media locations because I know even alternative news/anti-big media websites can become hypocritical.


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