Don't Buy the NYT Hype: Frist Grants Unlikely to Make Feds Master of HS Curricula

Sam Dillon in the NYT tries to make the case that a $4 billion new college grant program muddling through Congress represents some sort of dastardly incursion of the federal government: "for the first time the federal government will rate the academic rigor of the nation's 18,000 high schools."

For reasons that will be obvious to some, this is overheated writing based on fairly thin concerns. Don't buy the hype. The USDE isn't taking over high school course requirements anytime soon.


I'm not saying the new program is the best idea in the world, but Dillon shouldn't get very far in making any making any but the most credulous readers concerned (
College aid plan widens U.S. role in high school education).

This is no NSA domestic spying program, people, much as Dillon tries to make it look ominous and scary. (It came from Texas. The haven't consulted Democrats.)

This isn't NCLB, or Reading First.

Take as a hint that the main objections in the story come from higher ed folks like lobbyist Terry Hartle and powerhouses like... the Association of Registrars.

Add to that the fact that many states have already figured out (and to some extent implemented) rigorous course requirements that would qualify students for the grants.

Rigorous is also defined loosely -- this is no multi-part statutory definition like NCLB's "scientifically-based research."

And so it's even more incredibly likely that whatever rules and regulations come out of DC are so watered down that they're of little bother to anyone.


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