Monday, June 13, 2011

Libertarian View: Bill Evers Rejects "Common" Initiatives

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Sandra in Brevard

Bill Evers is on the list for Florida Commissioner of Education. However, given recent legislation, Race to the Top funding, and Florida's involvement in one of the national assessment consortium, his views may not give him enough points for serious consideration. Evers served under President Bush as Assistant Secretary of Education. He is now associated with the Hoover Institute at Stanford.

View a video of his views on common standards and common curriculum

Read the full transcript below:

TOP-Ed’s John Fensterwald interview with Bill Evers, May 2011

FENSTERWALD: I’m speaking today with Bill Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, specializing in education policy. From 2007 to 2009, Bill was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. He is what columnist Jay Mathews of the Washington Post—affectionately, I believe—calls “an inexhaustible trouble-maker.” The reason we have him here today is that he was a co-author and organizer of the so-called counter manifesto, “Closing the Door on Innovation: Why One National Curriculum Is Bad for America.” Bill, welcome!…

Bill, it’s a response to what? And take a couple minutes and explain exactly what is in this manifesto.

EVERS: It’s an extremely important topic because, for all of us that care about children, and children’s academic success, what teachers teach in the classroom, how they teach it, what instructional materials they use, what lesson plans they use, and how these are all put together, is the essence of what goes on in the classroom. Now, in the past, this has been a kind of thing that’s been decentralized in how it’s organized.

FENSTERWALD: Yes. And so what’s the point of this manifesto, Bill?

EVERS: Some people, particularly organized by a spinoff of the American Federation of Teachers called the Albert Shanker Institute, called for a national curriculum – in other words, a curriculum organized and sponsored by the federal government. And, to some extent, the Obama administration has been already doing this. It’s put millions of dollars into curriculum development aligned around a national framework.

FENSTERWALD: So this is all related to the Common Core standards, which 40-some states have adopted. So…what’s the goal here, Bill? Is it to stop Common Core? Is it to stop the—have Congress defund the—assessments for Common Core? What’s ultimately your objective here?

EVERS: I would say it’s mostly to turn around the testing and the curriculum-development piece of this. The original idea with these Common Core national standards was that the states and the state superintendents were going to put together some model standards that people could adopt and, hopefully, would gather a lot of support. But the federal government used its financial leverage essentially to compel the states to sign up.

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1 comment:

  1. Today's story, and another surprise:

    Because Congress has not reauthorized NCLB, Duncan will give waivers to States on compliance to the legislation IF they agree to adopt the Common Core and link student performance to 50% of teacher evaluation. Even if States after deliberation and voting agree, shouldn't the democratic process be encouraged?

    It's a messy process and doesn't please everyone, but it is the best process around, particularly when used ethically. Duncan is taking a pounding from the political Right and Left; let's see what else the U.S. Congress has to say.


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