It’s tough to stay a step ahead of a smart bureaucrat.
About a week ago I wrote an article explaining how what a bureaucrat wants (for himself) and what’s best for public education isn’t always the same thing – and used Senator Phil Berger’s ‘Read to Achieve’ bill as an example.
What Senator Berger wanted was to teach third graders to read – so he passed a bill to end social promotions, saying a third grader had to learn to read before being promoted to fourth grade. Which sounded simple. But didn’t sit too well with the bureaucrats who run education.
Because what bureaucrats love is job security – which means they avoid making controversial decisions like the plague. And Senator Berger’s bill said one thing loud and clear: They were going to have to make a lot of tough decisions – like making third graders attend summer reading boot camps.
Well, the bureaucrats side-stepped the whole problem. It was sheer brilliance. They couldn’t repeal Senator Berger’s law – so they gutted it. By simply making the tests easier.
As a result, overnight, 11,000 third graders – who couldn’t read under the old standard – can now read!
Tammy Howard, the head of testing at the Department of Public Instruction, even told newspaper reporters with a straight face “This is not lowering standards.”
Of course, that’s a non-sequitur. But, still, it’s worth remembering the next time the bureaucrats at DPI troop over to the legislature asking for more money.