Education Secretary Spellings: “Care Enough to Find Out”

Margaret Spellings, the architect of the No Child Left Behind initiative, discusses the soft bigotry of low expectations and analyzes the stress COVID has put on our educational system.

On the American public school system, Spelling observes, “You know, we get our crop of kids at the beginning of the school year and we shoot them out the other end and you kind of do the best we can in the middle. But it’s a more factory model than individually focused.”

Regarding the loss of learning that occurred during COVID, Spellings says, “The last thing we need to do is adopt the ostrich approach and give up on our kids. No, we need to triage. We need to intervene. We need to accelerate. Without clear eyed assessment and feedback and accountability, it will really underserve our students, especially those who are more disadvantaged. We need assessment because we need to care enough to find out how students are doing.”

Also joining the podcast is Gene Roundtree, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Boston School District. Mr. Roundtree discusses the impact the BARR system has on individualizing our relationships with students, “A lot of times these conversations used to happen at the end of the term, after the kids had already failed the class. Utilizing the BARR process meant that we weren’t waiting until the end of the term to look at data and outcomes, and then plan interventions and changes. We were looking at it like right from the first month of the school year. “

Adds Mr. Roundtree, “Over the course of the year, you know, we actually had a really drastic reduction. We had a 25% reduction in course failures in the ninth grade after our first year.”

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