I am thrilled that $150,000,000,000 in federal funds are slated to be disbursed for education. This is the single best investment that this country can make at this time. Public schools are what makes America what it is, and this money is desperately needed, all over the country.
Republicans are screeching that this is going to radically change the nature of federal involvment in education. Good. Why, besides being the default setting, should local and state governments have sole discretion on this issue? Why should we let Mississippi elect to have shitty schools? Because local people know best how to educate (or not) their children? Why should Kansas be able to mandate creationism be taught in science classes?
Again, I am reverting to East Coast liberal egg-head status, but I honestly think there should be national standards (oh, and that they be funded). The state testing for monitoring NCLB is wildly inconsistent. Not to pick on Mississippi again, but apparently their test is considerably less, ahem, demanding than most other states.
Why do kids in Montgomery County, MD have a different deal in education than those from DC, or Prince Georges? Talk about un-American. This most basic opportunity is a sham for most kids in inner cities or rural areas. I know some favor vouchers for private schools. I think this would effectively gut public education and produce an inevitable, protracted decline in our national education. Sure, some would likely benefit in the immediate term. The cost to society as a whole over the longer term would be incalcuable. Charter schools are great. Innovation is great. I am not advocating a NEA position where the status quo is fantastic and no one should be held accountable, but public schools are way too important to give up on.
Again, I am ecstatic that the new administration has stated that education is a top priority and, incidentally, is putting its money where its mouth is.