Obama guts No Child Left Behind

 President Obama in the midst of his re-election campaign has decided to gut No Child Left Behind by executive order.

Obama pulls the old use the right hand while everyone is watching the left hand routine. While he wants us to focus on the left hand (The American Jobs Act), he expects us to ignore the right hand (Executive Order). Being nothing short of a con, he presents his American Jobs Act to Congress knowing it has no chance of passing while already planning to use executive order to get the money contained in the bill.

So what was the con? The President’s American Jobs Act contains $35 billion to protect against “Teacher and Firefighter Layoffs.” He knows he’s not going to get this bill passed, despite his ranting and grandstanding around the country, so what to do? Let’s circumvent enacted legislation.

Don’t believe it’s a con? He already had plans in place to skirt sections of the No Child Left Behind legislation. He began stumping for the American Jobs Act when he came back from vacation on8/27/2011. Yet we find;

Tennessee applied for their No Child Left Behind waiver July 2011

Missouri applied for their No Child Left Behind waiver 8/4/2011.

Eligible States to Receive Waiver for No Child Left Behind Law 8/14/2011.

“Schools with failing rates, which are often in low-income neighborhoods, often close or have their leadership turned over to private or charter firms to reform the schools.”

Other states as well quickly followed suit.

So why was it necessary to gut the legislation?

Teacher unions have far outlived their usefulness.

Public education unions formed to guarantee some job securities for teachers and administrators (so they wouldn’t get fired on a personal whim) and a decent wage for the investment they made in earning a degree to pursue their vocation. In exchange for that the union would; self administer making sure there were competent people that taught and that they adhered to some set of standards.

 Fast forward to today; one side of this agreement is still intact, the other side is not.

They no longer self administer. They simply use the tenure tent.

You can no longer fire a teacher short of catching them having sex with a student, and that on tape (unless of course they haven’t made tenure yet).

There are hundreds of teachers taken out of the classroom and placed on administrative leave for various performance and discipline issues. While they wait for the “review by their piers” they continue to collect a paycheck and compile benefits, sometimes for months, even years.

This would never happen in the private sector.

When teachers go on strike and refuse to do their job they expect and most often get paid for the time they strike. If they want to strike, then it should be at their expense period. The only reason it is legal for them to strike is because they are State Employees.

The protectionism that tenure brings has created a class of teachers and college professors that would have not been tolerated not too very long ago. Some have little or no self respect, and no respect at all for their students. This lack of self respect is evident in their dress code and personal hygiene. They think nothing about teaching in flip-flops, shorts, and unironed clothes, often unshaven, with their hair un-groomed. If you saw some of them walking down the street you would think they were homeless people.

This would not be tolerated in the private sector.

When ‘No Child Left Behind’ was enacted, it was designed to recognize those teachers, schools, and states that excelled at their job. And reward those individuals and groups for their efforts with money to further those efforts.

When the early results (test scores) came in it was quite evident that teacher performance was woefully lacking. In subsequent years many states failed to get federal funding because there was too little or no improvement.

After some states began to embrace the legislation and the records indicated that the measured scores increased 39% Under Bush (2008-2009 year). This increase showed that the act had merit.

Many states face budgetary short falls, so one of the areas that had to be cut was education expense. Most state governors went to the unions and said you are going to have to donate more to your own retirement and healthcare cost or we will have to lay off some of your members.

99 times out of a 100 the union decided to allow the states to lay off some of their own rather than the group taking a reduction in pay or incur an increase in their own participation level. I guess they didn’t get the “Shared sacrifice” memo from President Obama.

They sacrifice the youngest and brightest members to protect the deadwood. Those members with protection.  Those members with tenure.

How about that; the unions, while they would have us believe they protect and represent all of their members, they really only protect some of their members. The best and brightest are sacrificed so that the others can remain, ultimately destroying public education.

I guess putting forth the effort to get the scores up, to get the grant money under No Child Left Behind was too much like work.

President Obama knowing that the states still face budget shortfalls, placing teachers jobs at risk, and unable to pass his ludicrous “jobs bill” which is nothing short of stimulus part 2 for teachers, has figured out another way to get those failing states their money.

The states can ‘opt out’ of ‘No Child Left Behind.’  What???? How can federally enacted legislation simply be overturned by executive order?  Ultimately this is rewarding incompetence. Plain and simple, and will make a bad situation worse.

This move by Obama will allow states to scrap the requirement that all children must show they are proficient in reading and math by 2014.

The tragedy of this is currently;

“Fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries on a math test and scored in the middle in science and reading, while China’s Shanghai topped the charts.”

He is removing the very requirement we need the most. How is lowering the bar going to improve things? It won’t. The argument is that teachers and administrators at the local level know how to do things more effectively, and if they are given the money, the student scores will improve.

Sorry history doesn’t support this argument. If they were able to get higher scores, then why didn’t they? Why was it necessary to put No Child Left Behind legislation in place to start with? Because what they were doing was not working, and had not worked for some time.

There were some successes out there, but those successes were hindered by the union.

When Michelle Rhee took over a troubled D.C. school system, and began to turn things around, it garnered a lot of attention. She was successful because she went against the grain as it were. She started closing failing schools, firing ineffective teachers and administrators. The results spoke for themselves, the student scores improved dramatically.

The union would have none of it, realizing her actions posed a threat to their tenured members; they exerted enough political pressure to have her fired.

Then did whatever they could to discredit and/or minimize her successes.

We cannot allow this president to do this. For a number of reasons, but mentioning 3; one, it is a blatant side-step of enacted legislation by executive order for the sole purpose of distributing federal funds.

Secondly, it rewards poor performance by continually lowering the bar of success (an Obama trademark).

Finally, it condemns those teachers who do a great job to failure. Many young teachers leave public education all together because they feel their ideas and efforts are being wasted. Their leaving makes the shortage of qualified teachers even larger.

And by the way, where is this reward money for poor performance going to come from?

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