The Washington Post

Pearls of wisdom from the Education Department

In the “D-for duh” category, here is some of the advice that the Education Department spent time putting together as guidance just issued to governors on how to wisely spend federal money during these financially troubled times.

The guidance is entitled “Smart Ideas to Increase Educational Productivity and Student Achievement.”

“Educational productivity?” That, apparently, means doing more with less, a financial situation that Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls “The New Normal.” And how do we do this? The guidance begins with a section entitled “Begin With Basic Principles.”

Here are the basic principles:

*Put student outcomes first.

*Invest in what works, not what doesn’t.

*Share ideas and learn from success.

*Work collaboratively with stakeholders.

Helpful, hu?

The second section is called “First, Do No Harm” and it suggests:

*Avoid short-sighted cost-cutting. In the explanation of this, it says: “Even in an era of tight budgets, cutting back in a manner that damages educational quality and hurts children is the wrong thing to do.” [boldface in the original text]

*Protect the neediest children and communities.

The advice in later sections gets more specific and adheres closely to the Obama administration’s education reform line: link teachers pay to students standardized test scores, close bad schools, etc.

But really, who’s going to read past the line about hurting children being the wrong thing to do? It sounds like it was written for children.


Follow my blog every day by bookmarking And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page at it!

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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