Arne Duncan Defends NCLB Waivers, Texas Testing Reduction? Ed Today

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28:  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses the National School Board Association's Federal
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses the National School Board Association's Federal Relations Nedtwork Conference at the Hilton Washington Hotel January 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Duncan faced a number of questions from conference attendees on issues including charter schools, unfunded mandates and reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind program. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Arne Takes The Stand As we reported yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan faced both praise and skepticism yesterday as he testified before a Senate oversight hearing on his No Child Left Behind waivers. In the spirit of non-jargony brevity, and because it's Friday, we give you some choice quotes from the hearing:

  • "We do have a responsibility to set a high bar to protect the interests of students ... but how to reach that bar, I believe, should be left to states" -- Duncan
  • "The question is, the facts are the facts." -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who might be the next education committee chair following Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) retirement.
  • "Let's move away from this Washington version of 'Mother May I.'" -- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who is a former U.S. education chief and now the ranking Republican on the committee.
  • "There's a lot of angst out there, a lot of concern ... We are in regulatory purgatory, sir." -- Sen Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)

Path To Equity In Tucson? Over at the New York Times, former New York City schools reporter Fernanda Santos takes a look at school desegregation in Tucson. "Looking back at the school desegregation case he took as a young lawyer, Rubin Salter Jr. sees a pile of wasted money and squandered opportunities," Santos writes. "After almost four decades in court and nearly $1 billion in public spending, little has changed for the black children whose right to a good education he had labored to defend." Earlier this week, a judge lifted the city's desegregation plan.

More Money For Vermont Childcare? Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is calling for more money for his state's childcare subsidy. To do so, he would "redirect" $16.7 that is now going to the earned-income tax credit, the Brattleboro Reformer reports.

Less Texas Testing? Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican state legislator in Texas, has proposed a measure that reduces standardized testing, according to KUT News, an Austin radio station. The bill would decrease the test load from 15 to five required standardized exams before graduation, with the hopes of opening up vocational options, Aycock told KUT. The bill was met with immediate opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce. "The assessment portion of Representative Aycock's bill is going to hurt students," a Chamber person told KUT.

What's In A Name? Nonprofit Quarterly asks a question I often think about: who 'owns' the term education reform, and what does it mean?