Sunday, July 31, 2011

NUT Report: SOS rally and march just the beginning

There is little reporting on the SOS March on D.C. held yesterday consistent with mainstream media's ignoring of current education reform initiatives. The public remains in the dark and uninformed. Bloggers are filling in the gaps. I have located some reporting:
National Park Service estimated 8,000 attended the SOS March on D.C. rally and march "to protest the standardized testing mania that is at the heart of the Obama administration’s school reform policies" according to Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss.

Education Week reporter Nirvi Shah covered events here. Marchers reported that CNN was there too.

The Christian Science Monitor, the most recognizable media outlet, reported the event here. The article titled "Save Our Schools March: a teacher revolt against Obama education reform" describes the event as part of a "nationwide push" agains the President's policies.

"This is impassioned educators pushing back for good or bad," says Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, who is generally an advocate of standards-based reforms. "I think it's clear that this isn't union power tactics."

Hess goes on to say these efforts have the potential for positive effects:

"There is a simple-mindedness, an arrogance, and a reflexiveness with which the reformers are pushing their agenda, particularly from Washington, and I think they've wound up giving classroom educators serious and fair cause for concern about how things like value-added evaluations or merit pay are taking shape," says Mr. Hess of AEI. "This pushback both helps call attention to the need to do this smarter and offers an opportunity to slow down and pursue these things with the deliberation and thoughtfulness they require."

There is common unity across ideologies over the direction of current education reform initiatives. The public and taxpayers are not getting sufficient information on the rationale for expensive, increased standardized assessment regimes, starting at preschool ages with data collected in national student longitudinal databases. In these times of severe economic distress, how are such initiatives justified and what is their impact on students? During Senate education hearings last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked for more money, 13.3 percent budget increase over 2011, which would bring the department's spending one fifth higher than 2010 levels.

"As every family is doing more with less, so should we," Duncan said. "[But] you can't sacrifice the future to pay for the present." He said the increase in spending would allow the department to fund the increased demand for Pell grants as well as reform early learning initiatives and the Race to the Top program."

There are simply too many questions regarding the benefits and cost-effectiveness of increased federal intrusion into education. Will Congress look deeper and respond to growing concerns?


  1. It is incorrect to state "National Park Service estimated 8,000 attended the SOS March on D.C. rally and march"

    National Park Service spokesman David Schlosser has made it quite clear: "We do not provide crowd estimates. Any you may hear may not be attributed to the Park Police or the National Park Service."


    Estimates are now reported between 3000 and 8000. The 8000 figure was attributed to the Park Service in a Washington Post article.

  3. Here's a brief history of the National Park Service and protest march crowd estimates.

    Long and short of it is: Congress prohibits Park Service crowd estimates (official and unofficial). I spoke the Park Service today (202-619-7177) and they reiterated the no crowd estimate policy.

  4. Mr Anonymous..Guess it's a bit like the line we hear from the White House almost every day.. you the one..

    "According to the spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about"

    Crowd control estimates are leaked after every major event on the Mall, the Washington Post reports them.. and then in another article they publish some version of the disclaimer you referenced...

    The DC Fore Department also used to release estimates, they discontinued the practice after the Million Man March as well.

    I find it hard to believe that Park Service and the Fire Department no longer do internal crowd estimates... in the event of a riot or something stampeding the crowd they need to know roughly how many people they're dealing with so they know how to respond----Failure to adequately respond carries a hell of a lawsuit potential.

    I'm curious, You clearly have an issue with the one detail... any reason you decline to put a name with your comments

  5. Grumpyelder: "Crowd control estimates are leaked after every major event on the Mall, the Washington Post reports them."

    This is not true. This is Congressional mandated. There are no "leaks". I challenge you to find one in the past 15 years.

    Detail matter. Facts matter.

  6. Congress seems to have their own leak problem

    The source close to talks said this framework is still tentative. An aide said congressional leaders who appeared on Sunday morning talk shows agreed not to discuss this framework publicly.

    Read more:

    According to a source close to the negotiations, on Friday the Speaker proposed tax-reform principles as a guarantee against tax increases.

  7. Ha ha. Find a Park Service crowd estimate leak in the past 15 years.

    For example, last fall every media outlet in America was looking for an official (or unofficial) crowd estimate on the Beck rally and the Restore Sanity/Fear rally. They didn't get one from the National Park Service.

  8. Mr Anon.. Last Fall id I recall the number was attributed to the DCFD.. who also claimed they didn't do it..

    Here's the link to the WAPO, Sandra clearly stated that her quote came from them

    OMG; as for you; You sit in DC and spend 12 hours a day monitoring websites for details like this.. Sounds like you're either a government employee or someone who's going to "Reform Education"

    Even for someone in those categories I'd think you'd be smart enough to verify a quote at the source, instead of trying to get a person who requoted to name the original source.

  9. Are facts important Grumpyelder? Is the truth important?

  10. Why Yes Anon, they are.. so let's start with who you are, you seem very reluctant to share that.. I hate calling someone Anonymous.. It's seems degrading.

    Then you can tell us why you're sitting behind a computer in Washington DC spending 10 or 11 hours a day monitoring websites...