Jeb Bush on Common Core: “I don’t think it’s coercive”

EdWeek published an interview with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at the Republican National Convention.  Here are the lowlights.

1. He praises Race to the Top

Bush cited Obama’s “efforts to challenge his own party on education reform.” And he said that [Race the the Top] helped “change behavior in places that people didn’t expect it would be changed.” He also gave the thumbs-up to Obama’s pick for an education secretary. “Arne Duncan was a great choice. … It could have been a lot worse.”

2. His view of the Common Core.

“I don’t believe that common core is a federal initiative,” Bush said. “A majority of the Republican governors support this. And we’ll see how the implementation goes. Romney’s view is that standards need to be benchmarked to the world. … Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have signed on to this. … I don’t think it’s coercive.”

He doesn’t think conditional NCLB and dangling RTTT funds to cash-strapped states is being coercive?  He and I obviously have a different opinion of what that word means.

One highlight though.  He doesn’t foresee himself being picked as the Secretary of Education.  We can only hope!  But I would be shocked if he were not picked should Romney win.  He wrote the forward to Romney’s education white paper and his fingerprints are obvious throughout.  As of right now when it comes to education under a Romney administration I see it as a “here’s the new boss, same as the old boss” proposition.

Update: The Christian Science Monitor finds five points of daylight between Mitt Romney and President Obama on education.  Yes there are differences, but none that will halt or even wind back federal involvement in education.

STEM Makes No Sense

STEM-Education1According to Marc Tucker at EdWeek:

Here is an interesting fact.  The countries that are producing more people with higher skills in mathematics, science, engineering, technology and science don’t have STEM programs.  When we do benchmarking research in those countries, we don’t hear their educators talking about STEM priorities.  We don’t hear their industrial leaders doing that either.  The term is not used.  The programs don’t exist.

What is going on here?  How come they are doing better at this when we have STEM programs and they don’t? 

The answer is that they have education systems that work and we don’t.  When we start falling behind in an area, we invent a program.  When they start falling behind, they ask, What’s wrong with our system?  And they fix it.  The truth is that “programs” won’t work in an arena like this.  The causes of our poor performance in these disciplines run deep.  Those causes implicate the inner workings of our education system.  It is not possible to ring fence the STEM subjects from the system itself, nor is it possible to build a strong secondary school STEM program on a weak elementary school curriculum.  If you try to do that, you will fail.  If you think that you can fix the problems in the STEM subjects without fixing the larger system, you will find that any progress you make will be limited and even that progress will disappear very quickly as the system reverts to form as soon as your back is turned.  This is not because educators are opposed to your objectives or fail to share your hopes for their students.  It is because they are as much trapped by the system as you are.  We are all in this together. 

Read the whole thing.

Another reason why the current course Jeb Bush, Bill Gates and company are leading us on is asinine.  They are not committed to making the changes that are actually necessary.

The “Enemy’s” Response to Fordham’s Wishful Cost Projections

0717_tuition_392x392Edweek reported today on the conflicting studies completed aimed at determining how  much the Common Core State Standards will cost.  The Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project in their report last February estimated a $16 Billion price tag.  The Fordham Institute, a pro-common core think tank, estimates up to $8.3 Billion could be spent in their report which was just released.

Edweek quoted Chester Finn, Jr., Fordham’s president who said, ““Enemies and critics of the common core want you to believe the worst: that besides being hard, it will be very pricey and likely ineffective. But this report says otherwise. Implementation can be modestly priced and likely more effective if states are astute enough to (a) implement differently, (b) deploy resources that they’re already spending, and (c) take advantage of this rare opportunity to revamp their education delivery systems, too.”

One “enemy” responded to this  the author of the Pioneer/APP study, Theodor Rebarber, said that Fordham underestimated the price tag on implementation by excluding the costs of computers, servers, and other technological infrastructure needed to complete the assessment.

Edweek writes:

He also faulted the Fordham study for being “a hope-based approach” to various ways states might save money, while the Pioneer study was a national extrapolation of “a handful” of actual cost estimates that states had done for themselves.

“Our basic approach was to look at evidence,” Mr. Rebarber said. “We think that’s the right way to do a conservative, prudent cost analysis. Theirs is more of an attempt to imagine ways to do things less expensively without any guarantee they will actually be able to pull it off.”

Rebarber encourages states to do their own studies.  Fordham encourages states to partner together in order to collaborate (who ends up being in charge?) on things like curriculum and professional development tools.