The following is my rewording, summarizing, and annotating of a section of the proposed education bill S. 1094. My version is better, but if you must see the original text, it’s here.
Strengthening America’s Schools Act
Title I: College and Career Readiness For All Students
Sec. 1001: The purpose of Title I. The purpose of this new Title I is ensure every child has a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to get a high-quality education. That was the purpose of the 1965 education law’s Title I too, but that law didn’t quite reach the goal. So we’re just tweaking it now. Totally gonna get it right this time. After we pass this law, education is going to be All Fixed. Really.
The old law listed 12 ways to accomplish our totally immeasurable and unobtainable goal.
#1 was all about making sure state standards were challenging and making sure the parents, teachers, and administrators were able to measure progress.
Our new #1 way to accomplish Title I’s purpose:
“setting high expectations for children to develop deep content knowledge and the ability to use knowledge to think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, and collaborate with others, in order to graduate, from high school, college and career ready;”
Isn’t that new language much better? Magic phrases like “deep content knowledge” will definitely help students be college and career ready. And the best part? Did you notice who will be setting those high expectations? We didn’t say it outright; perhaps it’s better left unsaid. But this is a federal law, so unless stated otherwise it will be administered at the federal level. Those dumb states, local administrators, teachers ,and parents have had since 1965 after all, and they just aren’t accomplishing the unaccomplishable like we can.
Our new #2 way to accomplish Title I’s purpose:
“supporting high-quality teaching to continuously improve instruction and encourage new models of teaching and learning;”
The old #2 was about focusing on the students who have the highest need. We’ll cover that in #4. The new #2 will hopefully fool you into thinking we want high-quality teachers, when all we really care about is coming up with new-fangled ways to teach. See how we cleverly assumed that encouraging something new is de facto going to support high-quality teaching? Because the newest way is always the best way!
We still like the old #3 way to accomplish our educational goals: closing achievement gaps. So we’re keeping the idea and just rewording it.
The old #4 was all about holding States, local school authorities, and schools accountable for education. Obviously, all that nonsense had to go. We don’t want to hold them accountable anymore, because we want to take over education at the federal level.
Our new #4 is where we provide additional support to those students who have the highest need.
The old #5 was about providing additional support to the schools and local authorities that need it most. We don’t want to bother with those middlemen anymore. We just want to aim our federal laser-like focus directly on the children now.
We want to direct that focus as soon as possible, so here is the New and Improved #5 way to ensure a great education for all:
“providing young children with greater access to high-quality early learning experiences to ensure they enter school ready to learn;”
High quality early learning!
The old #6 and #7 were more song and dance about making states accountable for student achievement, and even worse: providing greater decision-making authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance.
How very 1965. Deleted!
In the modern era, we are all about removing barriers. Doesn’t that sound better than boring, old-fashioned accountability and authority?
“removing barriers to, and encouraging state and local innovation and leadership in, education based on the evaluation of success and continuous improvement.”
“removing barriers and promoting integration across all levels of education. . . .”
“Promoting integration” sounds much nicer than “federal takeover,” doesn’t it?
The old #8 was about enriching and increasing quality instruction time. Whatevs, we covered all that with our magical “deep content knowledge.”
So we had to come up with something new. What’s better than removing barriers, we asked ourselves? Of course! Streamlining!
“streamlining Federal requirements to reduce burdens on States, local educational agencies, schools, and educators;”
So, we kind of let the cat out of the bag by admitting that Federal requirements tend to be a burden. But we’re totally fixing all that No Child Left Behind bureaucratic mess with an even bigger bureaucracy of our own!
The old #9 used the phrase “scientifically based instructional strategies.” That phrase has got to go, what with the way we’ve foisted an untested Common Core on most states. Science, shmience.
“strengthening parental engagement and coordination of student, family, and community supports to promote student success.”
Our ninth and last way to accomplish our education goals is based on the #12 way from 1965. Numbers 10 and 11 were just some fluff about professional development and coordinating services. Since we’ve already explained that we want to promote integration of all levels, coordination is a moot point. Mostly we are just hoping you don’t know that integration means combining different parts into a single (federally controlled) entity.
Whew! Well that was fun, but I’m never going to get anywhere on this bill if I keep fisking like this. I’ll try to make more efficient progress next time.