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Obama Himself Approved Data-Firewall Absolute


Only two things can render a state ineligible for Race to the Top grants.

And only one of them is a biggie: the student-teacher data firewall issue.

This effectively means New York, California, and Wisconsin, at the very least, are ineligible for Race to the Top—or will at least have some explaining to do. They have laws on the book that essentially bar the use of student-achievement data in some teacher-evaluation decisions.

Whether to elevate any criteria to the category of "must have," and if so, which ones, was apparently the subject of a lot of discussion among education department staffers. Should the charter-school cap issue be make-it or break-it? Should another teacher-quality measure get top billing?

When Education Department staff members finally settled on the data firewall rule, which would effectively knock out two states with giant student populations and powerful Congressional delegations, I'm told that education staffers took it up to those above their pay grades.......

To Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and eventually, to the president himself. And Obama, apparently, didn't need much convincing.


I can't imagine Obama will stiff New York. $5 billion in taxpayer funds and we get nothing? Will not happen.

If we're going to talk about "ineligible", then Duncan's abysmal record in Chicago should render him ineligible from giving anyone advice on education.

The President and Arnie Duncan are the dynamic duo of duplicity.

The President talks about hope, even while he kills the D.C. Voucher program, severing the last thread of hope for thousands of kids trapped in the nation's worst school system. And while shipping them back to the gulag, his own daugters are chauffered to Sidwell Friends.

And Arne Duncan is a loyal lieutenant animated by the same noblesse oblige.

When asked why his own son and daughter are not enrolled in the D.C Public Schools, Education Secretary Duncan answered plainly; “I didn't want to try to save the country's children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children's education.” In other words, “let them eat cake.”

Not to worry. Neither the President nor Secretary Duncan will be "saving" the nation's children or the dysfunctional public schools in which they are trapped anytime soon. They don't get it. Throwing an additional $100,000,000,000 of other peoples money into what will always be other peoples schools is classic stroke of elitist beneficence.

While no one questions the right of the First Parents or Arne and Karen Duncan to send their beautiful children to whatever school they choose, their heartless denial of the same right to some of Washington D.C.'s most vulnerable families just adds more bricks to the rising wall of separation that isolates Washington's pampered and pompous policy makers from the unwashed masses they have come to “save.” It is cruel and heartbreaking.

Perhaps we would be better served if money were spent getting kids to school and making the schools a safe place to learn. Add to this a healthy increase in pay to the people the overworked and underpaid professionals who actually teach in the classroom

The current punitive approach to education advocated by people who have not been near a real classroom in years is likely to only add more rules and more administrators an already over burdened system that continues to inhibit the creativity of teachers.

I wonder how long it has been since Mr. Duncan has been in a real classroom

My experience...36 years as an educator (physical) is that most administrators do a miserable job at evaluating teachers. We had an absolutely moribund teacher receive precisely the same evaluation as our "Teacher Of The Year"; and the evaluator couldn't understand why I was upset.

All this is far too punitive for teachers. We get praised in the press and by admin. for being the saviours in the trenches, then when we ask for modestly better teaching conditions or salaries/health benefits, get raked over the coals for being greedy and taking away from the kids. Country can't have it both way. We are running short on teachers and doing little to encourage the best kids to go into the profession. Does anyone wonder why? We raised three bright, honor students and none of them got anywhere close to teaching.

NCLB is a disaster riding a tragedy and Arne Duncan, like most administrators I've met is too narrow and inflexible in his view. I like the Pres. but I'm not very optomistic about the future of education.

Arne Duncan has a Master's degree in Sociology and neither he nor President Obama has ever even attended a public school. Mr. Duncan was APPOINTED over the Chicago Public School systems. As far as I can tell, neither parents, teachers, or students can see anything constructive that he did. He rode in on the "Yes, We Can" wagon...and was never asked to explain what he personally had actually done besides find ways to save money.

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