Obama’s Education Takeover

 

A recent Education
Next
piece (“Obama’s
Education Record
”) by Fordham’s Mike Petrilli and Tyson Eberhardt presents
a hard-hitting case against the President’s prowess as a K-12 reformer (a
reputation sullied by overspending, lackluster results, and micromanagement).
Still, compared to this mini-book (and attached
video
) from the Pacific Research Institute’s Lance Izumi, their essay reads
like an Obama festschrift. (Nowhere, for example, do Petrilli and Eberhardt
liken Obama to Louis XIV, as Izumi does.) While Izumi references the imprudence
of ARRA spending (a critique echoed in Petrilli’s and Eberhardt’s piece), the
majority of his broadside lambasts the Common Core State Standards—an
unprecedented federal overreach in his eyes. For those who have followed the
CCSS debate, Izumi’s deftly chosen
(and not
exactly even-handed
) arguments are not new. He contends that these
“national standards” are unconstitutional, costly, and none-too-rigorous. Big
statements, if just loosely grounded in fact. We’ve previously
rebutted
the first argument. And the rigor of the CCSS is equivalent to the
best of pre-existing state standards (which those states were—and remain—free
to retain). We are obliged to note, however, that Izumi spurned our own
analysis
of their merits in favor of a
more problematic one
. As for the costs of the
Common Core
, that’s a trickier issue. Expect more from us next week (and
then still more in the upcoming months). Izumi’s alterative to the Common Core?
Expand school choice. A commendable idea, but one that has little to do with
the state-led Common Core standards initiative. When it comes to federal
involvement in education
, Izumi has the “loose” part of the equation right.
But he pays no heed to the necessary “tight” part. Maybe he doesn’t think there
needs to be one.

Lance T. Izumi, Obama’s Education Takeover (New York, NY: Encounter Broadsides,
Pacific Research Institute, February 2012.)

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