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Dave Ross

When every school is a failure

Washington's Legislature is in a tussle with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan over how to evaluate teachers. (AP Photo/File)

“There is an element of hypocrisy that we’re just not going to stand for in Washington,” said David Iseminger, a member of the Lake Stevens School Board.

Washington’s Legislature is in a tussle with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan over how to evaluate teachers.

As a result, the feds are holding the schools to the letter of the No Child Left Behind law, which says that if even one student in any one of 37 different groups – which cover special ed, low-income or minority children – if even one fails to meet the standard, the school board has to send out a letter.

“I’m supposed to send a letter that says, ‘Lake Stevens, your schools are failing. If you want to go to another school in the area that isn’t failing, we’ll pay for your transportation.’ The only problem is, with the yard stick that now the department of ed is applying, there won’t be any schools, that according to them, aren’t failing.”

So Iseminger, who’s a data-cruncher at Microsoft, ran the numbers, and informed the education secretary that his district would be better off without the federal money.

“I’m not quite sure what he was expecting when he pulled our waiver because we come from the land of Richard Sherman,” said Iseminger. “We don’t just sit down when people tell us that we don’t do well enough because really our schools, they’re doing great work.”

So for people that think the federal government ought to butt out of local districts, the solution’s simple: Just don’t take their money.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

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