There is no reason to be surprised that Obama continues with his teacher pay for results mantra, and he now adds the expansion of charter schools. There is much babble about “data driven” decisions, but as always the devil is in the data. Apparently Obama hasn’t bothered to look very closely at the research on charter schools, which in general should not give any policy maker comfort in giving the nod to the expansion of these publicly funded ‘private’ schools. Overall, student test scores are lower in charter schools. And, where are the data that point clearly to a connection between forms of teacher compensation and improvements in student learning?
I’m not sure what the NEW culture of accountability is meant to be, but I am guessing that this new culture has all the potential to be scarier and more destructive than the old culture. The Clinton and Bush administrations have buried American education deep under neoliberal regulatory accountability. The NEW culture seems to be about more not different, with even more regulatory requirements driven by the “yes, you can” experiences Obama identifies as the sources of his own success (those fabulous early morning tutoring sessions with his mother).
There is nothing to give one optimism here, and whatever good Obama might do for the country is not going to manifest itself in improvements to education and schooling under these plans.
Here are links to a couple of Jerry Bracey pieces in the Huffington Post that point to the hypocrisy and sophistry in Obama’s education plan.