Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mark Kennedy on Education -- Damn!

Posted by Craig Westover | 12:52 PM |  

Damn -- for a few brief moments I thought Mark Kennedy was on the right track --
Kennedy Calls for Education Reform that Empowers Parents, Teachers and Local School Boards

(St. Paul, Minnesota) – Today, as students return to schools across Minnesota for the first day of the new school year, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kennedy put a spotlight on the need to change Washington’s role in local education matters.
“For decades, Washington has imposed mandate after mandate in an effort that has progressively taken control away from parents, teachers and school boards, while failing our children.
“It’s time to put a hold on new federal education mandates until current ones are funded or removed. And No Child Left Behind must not be expanded to high schools.
Yeah with trepidation; are mandates bad because they are mandates or because they aren’t fully funded?
“With a Dad who was on the local school board, a wife who was a teacher and as the first boy in my family to go to college, I take education seriously and personally. That’s how I know that an approach to education that is local and involves parents is the right path for our children, while the Washington centered model is the wrong path.
Unreserved Yeah!
“Rather than trying to coerce better results from our schools and teachers, I propose rewarding teachers when their students achieve, using tax incentives to attract math and science professionals to the classroom, federal grants for teacher competency testing and fully funding the federal government’s share of special education dollars.
Whoa -- Didn’t we just spend four paragraphs lamenting federal intervention in education? Did I miss something? How did we get from that to the government rewarding teachers and using tax incentives to influence areas of study. How did we get to federal grants for competency testing of teachers and federal funding of special education?
“When it comes to soaring college tuition costs, we need to allow for innovative financing options for families, like expanding tax-free college savings accounts. At the same time we can bring tuition rates down by requiring that federally funded schools justify their increases.
Yikes -- Virtually every college gets federal funds. So every college has to justify its tuition to the government? That’s Kennedy’s idea of less Washington involvement? The federal government, implies Kennedy, has bollixed up K-12 education with over control, so sure, why not extend its reach to the college and university system, which is still the best in the world?

I really want to like this guy, especially given the DFL alternative. But he’s got to stop trying to have it both ways -- talking conservative while walking to the left. The proposed reforms in this release create more, not less, federal involvement in education.