What the Next Obama Term Holds for Schools

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What the Next Obama Term Holds for Schools

Nov 7, 2012

POTUS SWISH: President Obama nailed a clean shot--both on the court as well as in the polling places--with a little help from his Chicago buddy, Arne Duncan. EdWeek has details on winners and losers: Indiana superintendent, Tony Bennett lost to long-time educator, Democratic Glenda Ritz. In Georgia, voters confirmed a new state commission to approve charter schools. Idaho voters seemed to be rejecting several plans there, including a measure that would create 1:1 laptop programs in high school. In California, voters OK'd Governor Jerry Brown's bond measure to support K-12 education, universities, and community colleges, but nixed a 12-year income-tax hike to support K-12 schools. And Missouri's up in smoke as voters narrowly defeated a measure that would send money to schools from increased taxes on tobacco products. The HuffPo breaks down several other ed policy measures and their results here.

Secretary Arne Duncan has promised to stay for term two. (EdSurge, well-schooled in the ways of Washington, expects to see plenty of other people head for stage left.) Duncan will have plenty of challenges--but not likely so much funding--on his plate.

From an education point of view, term one of the Obama Administration was frontloaded: Washington had $100 billion for schools, half of which went to support teachers' jobs, and billions to turn around failing schools. Term two, by contrast, is likely to be dominated by schools starting to use the Common Core curriculum that most states have pledged to adopt--and very likely struggling mightily to find the funding to support the changes.

The Common Core excites--and terrifies--many. EdWeek reports that schools in Kentucky, which are the first to use tests tied to the Common Core, saw scores drop by a third, particularly among elementary and middle school students.

Our hope for term two: that the emphasis on testing fades as our attention to learning grows.

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