Arne Duncan to California: No Data, No Funds

arne-duncanU.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s criticism of a bill before the California Assembly is a primer example of federal overreach.  Granted, I’m not a fan of the bill either, and I’m surprised by Duncan’s reaction.

The bill, AB 484 which I wrote about earlier, will speed up California’s time table on adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessments which is foolhardy.  However because they want to suspend test scores for a year that has earned the ire of Duncan.

Can’t go a year without that data you see.

The L.A. Times reports:

The lack of test scores attracted Duncan’s criticism.

"Letting an entire school year pass for millions of students without sharing information on their schools’ performance with them and their families is the wrong way to go about this transition," he said in a statement. "No one wants to over-test, but if you are going to support all students’ achievement, you need to know how all students are doing."

Duncan declined to specify what action he would take, and in fact, the federal government has no direct authority over state school systems. But the department controls billions of dollars in federal funds, which can make up about 10% of a school district’s budget. This money adds up to about $600 million a year for Los Angeles Unified, according to the district.

"If California moves forward with a plan that fails to assess all its students, as required by federal law, the department will be forced to take action, which could include withholding funds," Duncan said.

Since when does Duncan suddenly care about the law?  They don’t seem to have a problem issuing unconstitutional No Child Left Behind waivers in order to bypass Congress.  Ridiculous.

So a chilling example for other states.  Shut off the data spigot for even a short time and the U.S. Department of Education will tighten the purse strings.

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About the Author ()

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.
  • MadMamaBear

    Send the BULLY home to EAT his Fed Ed poison carrot! We don’t need his stinking 10% to TELL us what we’re going to do in CA. Fed Ed get OUT OF CA!!!

  • Educator

    Maine has the right idea: Tell the Fed D’oh! of Ed to keep their ill-gotten money, keep their fingers out of the state and off the students’ data.