Do you ever read a report and wonder who wrote it and why they didn’t get a good editor?

I bring this up in regard to the U.S. Education Department’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-18. (By the way you have until Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, to submit comments to the department. You can listen to a video about the plan here, or read it here.)

If you follow the education debate you will recognize the thrust of the report: Work on implementing the Common Core State Standards, make higher education more affordable, increase graduation rates, etc. etc. The department envisions a continuation of the same reform policies — many of them flawed — that it has been pursuing for years — but acknowledges that it can’t actually implement the strategic plan unless the institution itself is transformed, including “raising the competency levels of the employees using a strategic, disciplined and structured approach.” Hmmm.

They sure make it tough to read through their vision.

There’s stuff that is so obvious you wonder why anyone bothered to write it:

Postsecondary education access — and success — can be achieved only if students complete high school or its equivalent, and postsecondary education and training are relevant and affordable.



Then there are your run-on sentences with bad punctuation:

In alignment with the Five-Year Federal Strategic Plan on STEM education and the Administration’s government-wide STEM education reorganization proposal, the Department will also leverage partnerships with other Committee on STEM (CoSTEM) agencies, including the National Science Foundation which has been designated the lead CoSTEM agency working on undergraduate STEM education, to leverage existing and proposed programs that support postsecondary STEM education to increase the quality of STEM learning and make pathways in these majors more engaging and attainable.


And then there’s this graphic, on Page 2. What’s wrong with it?