“States would measure school performance on the basis of progress in getting all students, including groups of students who are members of minority groups, low-income, English learners, and students with disabilities, on track to college- and career-readiness, as well as closing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates for high schools,” the secretary said.

What Secretary Duncan means by “college- and career-ready” may reside in the hyphens, which link college readiness and career readiness on one hand, separate them on the other. Does doing away with the AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) mean that children like my five-year-old will have more choice, that he will be able to pursue college OR career education, depending upon his interests, abilities, and needs? Or does it mean some other set of rigid standards, trading one cookie cutter for another?

Whatever he means, should he be holding the nation’s children hostage until he gets what he wants (teachers linked to test scores, the privatization schools)? As Representative Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana pointed out at the Secretary’s recent appearance before Congress:

“In Indiana, the budget is tight, the governor has cut back, we see schools laying off teachers, we see them closing down schools,” Mr. Souder said. “And we come out here and we hear how we’re going to spend money this, spend money that. There’s an increasing disconnect between Washington and the grass roots.”

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