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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