Friday, September 16, 2005

Conservatives, yes -- but compassionate?

While Secretary Spellings tours a middle school in Houston that has taken in 50 evacuees, conservative think-tank types are busy peddling vouchers as the panacea for students who were victimized by the storm. At best, this is a mean-spirited attempt to "help." Conservatives know that vouchers aren't going to pass any time soon. Instead of putting their energy into substantive efforts to ensure excellent educational opportunities for Gulf Coast kids, their peddling dubious policy proposals.

It's political opportunism at its worst.

Meanwhile, schools around the country that take in the evacuated students -- a large number of whom are undoubtedly facing post-traumatic stress disorder now or in the near future -- risk missing AYP because of it. The Department of Education's much vaunted flexibility apparently doesn't apply in this case. From the San Antonio Express News:

Federal education officials said no to a request from Mississippi that adequate yearly progress, or AYP, be waived this year for schools affected by the storm.

"Since the tests in Mississippi on which AYP determinations are made will not be administered until spring 2006, it is premature for us to consider this request at this time," U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings wrote to Hank Bounds, superintendent of education for Mississippi.

Lovely. Just how compassionate are these conservatives?


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