a bi-partisan agreement, also ushered in many new (neocon) policy positions and is indelibly linked now with the Bush era. The U.S. can do better for its education system than we have over the last 8 years and a new act should encompass the new vision and hope.
2. Keep some forms of standardized accountability but build in more professional judgment and external peer review - make the accountability community more like a scientific community and less like a bean-counting bureaucracy. I fully agree with the assessment-sensitive comments that we can have a higher form of accountability (more valid, as reliable) than bubble-test results. Do not play into the mass-produced test-maker monoply! Witness how states fudged results anyway; and the shameful way that districts played the game.
3. Create policy and accountability that encourages innovative creative emergence of the "spirit of the law" rather than be-grudged acquiescence and following the "letter of the law?"
4. Re-configure the Department of Education to act like a knowledge-producing body rather than a funding dispersal organization. Program officers with real expertise in their area should be given latitude to develop long time-frame research and development agendas and the emerging communities of interest (including the obvious self-interests) should operate in the open, with external peer review, fluidity (e.g. don't have programs just exist in year two because they were here in year 1) and adaptability to new external forces.
5. Connect the mission of the Department and its main funding act to the main national agenda. For example, if we as a nation are working on energy independence and we need a solution in 10 years, then let's get our 5 year olds thinking about the problem! Put each item of national priority into the center of the problem space and ask the schools and communities to help solve the problems by legitimately including children in the process. They wind up inheriting the mess the adults make, so they deserve a real chance at influencing things. Problem-centered education would then not only be a choice that an individual teacher might make to engage their students, but would be the way we do education in the U.S.…