Now that I am back in the public school world, I am wondering just how much each school and school district spends on compliance for these programs and if it is worth the price. Financially, how much better off (if at all) is a school or school district when it accepts this money? But, perhaps more importantly, how much energy is drained from the school organization to deal with the nonsense that accompanies the money? My principals are tired. Really tired. Nearly every day - no literally every day - someone from a central office contacts them to tell them of a deadline or requirement they must meet. Almost everything revolves around federal programs. People in Arne Duncan’s office would probably reassure us that we were ensuring that kids in poverty get the help they need through these programs; that we are working to level the playing field for them - to which I would say, “Hogwash!” These programs have been in effect for decades now, and despite the increasing compliance regulations, they have nothing to show for them. Our national results have been getting worse during the same time period that we have been making these ridiculous requirements of schools.
If the United States Department of Education really wants better results, it is time to really focus on JUST results. Use the Common Core State Standards as the benchmarks, and focus on developing authentic assessments systems that will do a better job of seeing what our kids can do. And then PLEASE get out of the way of educators who are on the front lines and let them focus on instruction instead of filling out forms.