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Topic: [ncsm-members] Response to: U.S. Educ Woes Threaten Nat'l Sec.
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] Response to: U.S. Educ Woes Threaten Nat'l Sec.
Posted: Mar 25, 2012 4:22 PM
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From The Washington Post [The Answer Sheet by
Valerie Strauss], Tuesday, March 20., 2012. See
RESPONSE TO "U.S. Education Woes Threaten
National Security, Report Says" that was posted a
little earlier.

Condi Rice-Joel Klein report: Not the new 'A Nation at Risk'

By Valerie Strauss

A new report being officially released today - by
a Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired
by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice - seems to
want very much to be seen as the new "A Nation at
Risk," the seminal 1983 report that warned that
America's future was threatened by a "rising tide
of mediocrity" in the country's public schools.

It's a pale imitation.

The U.S. Education Reform and National Security
report, to be sure, has some similar language and
themes of a Nation at Risk. It says (over and
over) that America's national security is
threatened because America's public schools
aren't adequately preparing young people to "fill
the ranks of the Foreign Service, the
intelligence community, and the armed forces" (or
diplomats, spies and soldiers).

But it takes a very different view of the public
education system than the authors of "A Nation at
Risk," who sought to find ways to improve public
schools and treat the system as a civic
institution. The new report seems to look at
public schools as if they are the bad guys that
need to be put out of business, with a new
business taking over, funded with public dollars.

A Nation at Risk made some basic recommendations,
which included improving the curriculum, raising
expectations for all children and improving the
teaching force.

The Klein-Rice report makes three broad
recommendations to fix the stated problem.

It calls for:

* expanding the Common Core State Standard
initiative to include subjects beyond math and
English Language Arts;

* an expansion of charter schools and vouchers

* an annual "national security readiness audit"
that would look at how schools are addressing the
country's needs through increased foreign
language programs, technology curriculum and more.

The report cites lots of statistics that paint
public schools in the worst possible light, and
continues the trend of comparing America's
educational system with that of high-achieving
countries - but doesn't note that these countries
generally don't do the kinds of things these
reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead
to further privatization of public schools and
even more emphasis on standardized testing.

Any reader of this blog may recall a post I
recently did where I spelled out what the report
would say well before it came out. I was pretty
much on target. How did I know? The president of
the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard N.
Haass, chose Klein and Rice to be the co-chairs,
according to Anya Schmemann, the council's task
force program director. And he most certainly
knew what kind of report he would get.

Klein was chancellor of of New York City public
schools for eight years, running it under the
general notion that public education should be
run like a business. He closed schools, pushed
the expansion of charter schools and launched
other initiatives before resigning in 2010 after
it was revealed that the standardized test scores
that he kept pointing to as proof of the success
of his reforms were based on exams that got
increasingly easy for students to take. Now he
works for Rupert Murdoch.

When one member of the commission suggested that
people with dissenting views be brought before
the panel to present other ideas, and Diane
Ravitch's name came up, Klein vetoed it, members
of the panel said. Ravitch is the leading voice
against the test-based accountability movement
and "school choice," but Klein, who has long had
tense relations with the education historian,
didn't want the panel to hear from her.

Rice was secretary of state under president
George W. Bush. She has expressed her admiration
for Bush's key education initiative No Child Left
Behind, which ushered in the current era of
high-stakes testing but has now been called a
failure by both Republicans and Democrats.

And talk about stacking the deck! The task force
had 30 members, including a long list of people
who support the kind of reform Klein implemented
in New York. They include Wendy Kopp, founder of
Teach for America; Margaret Spellings, former
secretary of education; Jonah M. Edelman of Stand
for Children, and Richard Barth of the KIPP
Foundation. There were some members with
differing perspectives, including Stanford
University's Linda Darling-Hammond and American
Federation of Teachers President Randi
Weingarten, but they were in the small minority.

Here's the complete list of committee members.
Five of the members have astericks by their
names, indicating that they wrote dissents to the

Carole Artigiani*, Global Kids, Inc;
Craig R. Barrett, Intel Corporation;
Richard Barth, KIPP Foundation;
Edith L. Bartley, United Negro College Fund;
Gaston Caperton, The College Board;
Linda Darling-Hammond*, Stanford University;
Jonah M. Edelman, Stand for Children;
Roland Fryer Jr., Harvard University;
Ann M. Fudge;
Ellen V. Futter*, American Museum of Natural History;
Preston M. Geren, Sid W. Richardson Foundation;
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.;
Allan E. Goodman, Institute of International Education;
Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research;
Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;
Joel I. Klein, News Corporation;
Wendy Kopp, Teach For America;
Jeffrey T. Leeds, Leeds Equity Partners, LLC;
Julia Levy, Culture Craver;
Michael L. Lomax, United Negro College Fund;
Eduardo J.Padrón, Miami Dade College;
Matthew F. Pottinger, China Six LLC;
Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective;
Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University;
Benno C. Schmidt, Avenues: The World School;
Stanley S. Shuman, Allen& Company LLC;
Leigh Morris Sloane, Association of Professional
Schools of International Affairs;
Margaret Spellings, Margaret Spellings and Company,
Stephen M. Walt*, Harvard Kennedy School;
Randi Weingarten*, American Federation of Teachers.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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