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Politics and Teacher Preparation: Who Looks Out for the Candidates?
Unformatted Document Text:  Politics and Teacher Preparation: Who Looks Out for the Candidates? PresentersDr. George White, Dean of Education, Montana State University- BillingsMs. Cathey White, Director of Tech Prep, South Central RegionDr. Stanley Wigle, Dean of Education, Indiana University Northwest Statement of the IssueIt has often been stated that politics makes for strange bedfellows. The roundtable discusses what happens when the feds, state, and LEA’s differ and teacher preparation is caught in between. Literature ReviewThe reauthorization of the ESEA Act of 1965 in 2002, with No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB), has created much angst or much excitement dependent upon which side of Alice’s Looking Glass you are standing. The keystone educational legislation of the Bush Whitehouse passed in the house and senate overwhelmingly and was carried by democratic Ted Kennedy in the senate as an example of bipartisanism in the early stages of the Bush administration. As the “meat was attached to the bones” of the skeletal legislation, the ‘ole’ expression - the devil is in the details - became evident. The lines were drawn and everyone has an opinion. A web search reveals thousands of articles and opinions on the subject. We have progressed from barely understanding the 7,000 pages of legislation to implementation and, in some cases, open confrontation. The Department of Education (DOE) has conducted countless meetings, seminars, town hall listening sessions and the controversy continues. In a town hall meeting in Missoula, Montana in the spring of 2004, Deputy Secretary Hitchcock was asked, “Is it possible for all children to perform at grade level by 2013?” The presenters believe Deputy Secretary Hitchcock’s answer provides the foundation for the controversy of the legislation. A paraphrase of Secretary Hitchcock’s answer follows: No, it is not feasible to think that all children will perform at grade level – but you tell me, would you rather the goal be too high or too low? Which children or group of children should not be expected to achieve? The DOE would rather set the goals too high and try to attain the seemingly impossible task – than to set the goal too low and boast of success when a child that could succeed was left behind (Hitchcock, 2004). Few if any would argue with the philosophy espoused by Deputy Secretary Hitchcock; the problem arises when the philosophy is operationalized and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are held accountable for failure to make adequate progress toward a seemingly impossible goal. ContributionIn a recent article (State Legislative Watch List, April 2005) an overview of state compliance was provided; twenty-one states were reported to be actively engaged in procedures to reform/change NCLB. There are obviously different levels of compliance and individuals within each state would have differing opinions as to whether their state is compliant or not. There are specific cases where the DOE has provided greater leeway in the interpretation of the legislation. In March of 2004 at the initial High School Initiative Summit in Billings, Montana, the DOE announced that greater leeway would be provided for rural schools. Secretary Spellings (Santos-Garza, May 15, 2005) announced the DOE was allowing Texas to test and report special needs populations differently. Previously, only one percent of the school population could be categorized as special needs and be tested and reported differently. With the change announced by Secretary Spellings, three percent of the school population is now eligible for categorizing as special needs. Texas, where the concept for NCLB originated, is appreciative of the concession offered by Secretary Spellings, but the state of Texas believes that is not sufficient. The state of Texas allows for a nine percent exemption when testing and reporting scores for the special needs population. The dispute in Texas continues and millions of dollars for high needs schools is at stake.

Authors: White, George., White, Cathey. and Wigle, Stanley.
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Politics and Teacher Preparation:
Who Looks Out for the Candidates?
Presenters
Dr. George White, Dean of Education, Montana State University- Billings
Ms. Cathey White, Director of Tech Prep, South Central Region
Dr. Stanley Wigle, Dean of Education, Indiana University Northwest
Statement of the Issue
It has often been stated that politics makes for strange bedfellows. The roundtable discusses what happens
when the feds, state, and LEA’s differ and teacher preparation is caught in between.
Literature Review
The reauthorization of the ESEA Act of 1965 in 2002, with No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB), has
created much angst or much excitement dependent upon which side of Alice’s Looking Glass you are
standing. The keystone educational legislation of the Bush Whitehouse passed in the house and senate
overwhelmingly and was carried by democratic Ted Kennedy in the senate as an example of bipartisanism
in the early stages of the Bush administration. As the “meat was attached to the bones” of the skeletal
legislation, the ‘ole’ expression - the devil is in the details - became evident. The lines were drawn and
everyone has an opinion. A web search reveals thousands of articles and opinions on the subject. We
have progressed from barely understanding the 7,000 pages of legislation to implementation and, in some
cases, open confrontation. The Department of Education (DOE) has conducted countless meetings,
seminars, town hall listening sessions and the controversy continues.
In a town hall meeting in Missoula, Montana in the spring of 2004, Deputy Secretary Hitchcock was
asked, “Is it possible for all children to perform at grade level by 2013?” The presenters believe Deputy
Secretary Hitchcock’s answer provides the foundation for the controversy of the legislation. A paraphrase
of Secretary Hitchcock’s answer follows: No, it is not feasible to think that all children will perform at
grade level – but you tell me, would you rather the goal be too high or too low? Which children or group
of children should not be expected to achieve? The DOE would rather set the goals too high and try to
attain the seemingly impossible task – than to set the goal too low and boast of success when a child that
could succeed was left behind (Hitchcock, 2004).
Few if any would argue with the philosophy espoused by Deputy Secretary Hitchcock; the problem arises
when the philosophy is operationalized and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are held accountable for
failure to make adequate progress toward a seemingly impossible goal.
Contribution
In a recent article (State Legislative Watch List, April 2005) an overview of state compliance was
provided; twenty-one states were reported to be actively engaged in procedures to reform/change NCLB.
There are obviously different levels of compliance and individuals within each state would have differing
opinions as to whether their state is compliant or not. There are specific cases where the DOE has
provided greater leeway in the interpretation of the legislation. In March of 2004 at the initial High
School Initiative Summit in Billings, Montana, the DOE announced that greater leeway would be
provided for rural schools. Secretary Spellings (Santos-Garza, May 15, 2005) announced the DOE was
allowing Texas to test and report special needs populations differently. Previously, only one percent of
the school population could be categorized as special needs and be tested and reported differently. With
the change announced by Secretary Spellings, three percent of the school population is now eligible for
categorizing as special needs. Texas, where the concept for NCLB originated, is appreciative of the
concession offered by Secretary Spellings, but the state of Texas believes that is not sufficient. The state
of Texas allows for a nine percent exemption when testing and reporting scores for the special needs
population. The dispute in Texas continues and millions of dollars for high needs schools is at stake.


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