by Whitne Strain and Christel Swasey
Long ago, the horrific invading soldiers of Genghis Khan used children as shields. Seeing innocent children sandwiched between defenders and invaders, few defenders would continue a defense.
That image, from “The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World” comes to mind as we watch the U.S. Secretary of Education’s recent war against what he sees as a noncompliant Washington State.
Washington State became a thorn in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s side when the state refused to comply with the federal agenda that would tie teacher evaluations to students’ Common Core test scores.
Washington State’s leaders had listened to teachers and parents; they then stood up to the unconstitutional federal demands and just said no. They would not comply with the damaging policy of tying teacher evaluation to student scores.
The federal response was a punch in the face: Duncan stripped Washington of its waiver from ESEA (aka No Child Left Behind).
Why is that a punch in Washington State’s face? Losing the waiver means that Washington now will get reburied in the absurd, impossible NCLB mandates –and will lose funding.
Duncan not only punished Washington state; he especially punished the state’s neediest children.
According to the Washington Spokesman-Review, “Washington is the first state to lose control over federal dollars used to help students in the poorest schools. The result: Districts will be forced to set aside the $40 million they had been getting for those student services”.
We wonder: how does Duncan sleep at night?
Read his wordy, meaningless federal explanation letter here. It is so verbiose and devoid of goodness that we won’t quote a single word. But do read teacher Peter Greene’s clever and hilarious teacher’s translation of Duncan’s letter to Washington, it here — spot-on.
“Washington got to ignore its violation of federal NCLB laws if they agreed to install Duncan’s own untried, untested, unproven, unsubstantiated but very specific prescriptions about how to use CCSS [Common Core] tests to evaluate teachers and principals… Duncan doesn’t just believe that CCSS [Common Core] test-based measures of teachers and principals are a good idea. He doesn’t just deny every stone on the mountain made out of evidence that he’s wrong. He has given CCSS test-based measurement the full weight of federal law.
So what will happen to Washington, and who will do it? Or will the legislators freak out and panic, installing Arne’s junk science system at the 11th hour to win back his Kingly affection? You can bet a few other states will be watching… “
Thank you, Mr. Greene. Yes, we are watching.