Thursday, August 04, 2005

Come here fishy fishy

Tom Vilsack announced yesterday, as a retiring don't-need-nothin'-from-the-grassroots governor turned P.W., that the 180 day school year must be longer to accommodate an increase in classroom learning time. What a set up. It is classic Vilsack. Put out a really politically difficult issue to turn from idea into policy and back away from the heavy lifting with these sorts of comments…

(Cedar Rapids Gazette Online, Vilsack calls for longer school year, August 3, 2005)

...Vilsack said that the change couldn't be accomplished by the 2006 school year because of teacher contracts and other considerations, but he said change should be implemented as soon as possible...

(The Des Moines Register, Vilsack proposal puts summers in jeopardy, August 4, 2005)

…Improving high schools was a key topic during last month's gathering of the nation's governors in Des Moines. The National Governors Association has cited the need for the nation's schools to be more competitive globally, noting the United States ranks 17th among developed nations in the percentage of youth graduating from high school.

Vilsack did not specify Wednesday how much the school year should be lengthened, or how much it would cost. He said policymakers may discuss other options, such as a longer school day. Either way, it won't happen in the 2005-06 school year.

"I don't have all the answers," Vilsack said. "The point of this was to put it on the table, to say this is an issue that requires discussion and it's an issue whose time has come."…

Rich, in one paragraph hammer away at the realistic need for a longer school year while in the next paragraph punt it down the road with the lame excuse that contracts and other considerations will make it impossible to change for '06. Read -- a policy for the “National Vilsack” floated out with a wink so that the Iowa public school apologists don’t start to worry about it really happening.

And there are plenty of apologists who certainly plan to vote for candidates on the Iowa ballot.

(Des Moines Register, ibid)

…Despite the call for improving high schools, a report released Wednesday by a 15-member review team of educators concluded that Iowa should maintain local control for high school standards, curriculum and graduation requirements.

The report came after state education officials received input from 1,400 Iowa superintendents, high school principals and school board presidents from around the state this spring.

"While most educators generally do recognize the need to improve high schools, many communities, students or parents do not fully understand that need," Jeffrey said.

A complete set up – let’s boldly announce an aggressive education policy, bait a couple of Republicans for their response and then figure out how to educate the Iowa State Education Association & friends to use this bold -- but obviously unpopular at the grassroots -- policy to screw over any candidate courageous/stupid (sometimes one in the same) enough to take the Vilsack bait.

No need to say it but … we’re going to have to put up with another seventeen %^&# months of Vilsack pulling this crap. It is so old.

UPDATE -- Radio Iowa provides a link to Vilsack's speech to school administrators.



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