Chester E. Finn Jr. and Mike Petrelli, president and executive vice president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, explain how education reform is both a test and an opportunity for the GOP. Here, for example, is their take on how are the Obama Administration is “unconstitutionally” overpowering states’ right through the use of standardized test data to evaluate teachers:
If [us Republicans are] serious about reform, we must acknowledge that Washington is likelier to make things worse than to make them better. Take our current experiment with teacher evaluations. In return for flexibility from some of NCLB’s most onerous (and least realistic) prescriptions, Education Secretary Arne Duncan demanded last year that states devise formulaic systems to measure classroom performance. The impulse is plausible (if unconstitutional — Duncan has no legal authority to make such demands) , but after going through the bureaucratic grinder, the resulting systems don’t pass the laugh test. Spanish teachers are being evaluated based on their students’ (English) reading scores and states are creating elaborate assessments for gym class.