Well, he and almost every other Democrat in the Senate.
Why, oh why can't they get it right on education?
The Senate was going through its vote-a-rama on amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act when the Murphy amendment came up for a vote.
What is the Murphy Amendment, you ask?
Short answer, it's a continuation of the same Test and Punish policies of the failed No Child Left Behind.
The 12-page text of Murphy’s SA 2241 reads more like No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with its detailed prescription for reporting on student test results, for “meaningfully differentiating among all public schools” (i.e., grading schools), including publicly identifying the lowest five percent, and, among interventions, potentially firing staff and offering students the option to transfer to other schools and using part of the budget to pay for the transportation.”
This amendment would have enacted tough, federal-mandated accountability, akin to setting up an “achievement school district” in every state.
Almost every Democrat voted for this. This was co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren.
She even released a statement expressing her disappointment.
[In her statement, she says the ESEA as passed] “eliminates basic, fundamental safeguards to ensure that federal dollars are actually used to improve both schools and educational outcomes for those students who are often ignored.”
And Bernie said he was going to "End No Child Left Behind" yet he voted for this extension of the same.
That sounds good until you realize what she means. “Educational outcomes” mean test scores. She’s talking about test-based accountability. She is against the ESEA rewrite because it doesn’t necessarily put strings on schools’ funding based on standardized test scores like NCLB.
She continues, “Republicans have blocked every attempt to establish even minimum safeguards to ensure that money would be used effectively. I am deeply concerned that billions in taxpayer dollars will not actually reach those schools and students who need them the most…”
She is upset because Republicans repeatedly stripped away federal power to Test and Punish schools. The GOP gave that power to the states. So Warren is concerned that somewhere in this great nation there may be a state or two that decides NOT to take away funding if some of their schools have bad test scores.
Right now, Democrats seem to be under the impression that the only way to tell if a school is doing a good job is to engage in high stakes testing and only use the test scores as a guide.
Which is utter bullshit. The only thing a test score shows is parental income.
Real school accountability would be something more akin to the original vision of the ESEA – making sure each district had what it needs to give kids the best education possible. This means at least equalizing funding to poverty schools so they have the same resources as wealthy ones.
But today's Democrats won’t hear it. The Murphy Amendment seems to show that they’re committed to punishing poor schools and rewarding rich ones.
So it comes down to this--On the one hand, you have Democrats. Top down, Test-and-Punish, privatization in the inner city, and the Common Core corporate scam. On the other hand, you have Republicans. Who want to destroy public education entirely through charters, vouchers, and privatization.
Honestly, when it comes to policy, there doesn't seem to be a lot of difference.