Republican Education Reforms Likely to Help Boys?
Meanwhile the Alexander plan fails to deal with the reality that accountability needs to be expanded, not scaled back. The need to force the overhaul of ed schools, who train most of the nation's new teachers, is still critical to the reform of American public education. Yet the Alexander plan is silent on that issue. Nor do Alexander's proposals address the crisis of low educational achievement among young men of all backgrounds, one of the leading symptoms of the education crisis. As Richard Whitmire and I proposed in June, simply requiring gender to be measured as part of subgroup accountability would do plenty to force states and districts into dealing seriously with this problem. And setting a plain, simple measure of chronic truancy -- an early warning indicator of academic failure -- would give teachers and principals honest data that they can then use in keeping kids in school. Right now, only two states -- California and Indiana -- offer some sort of breakdown of chronic truancy data, and that's not good enough. And school choice and Parent Power? Save for supporting the expansion of charter schools, not a thing.
The irony here is that although the 'boy troubles' are entirely apolitical, they are an ideal political issue for conservatives to embrace. It is safe to say that the Democrats aren't going to launch any initiatives here, which leaves a huge political opening -- an opening likely to ignored as Republicans work to push more accountability back to the states. That, in turn, would make the boy troubles a state issue. Not ideal.