Obama Follows Yet Another Bush Policy: He Praises HISD

The Houston school district got a shout-out from President Obama this morning.

In a major speech on education, Obama urged a raft of reforms "to finally make No Child Left Behind live up to its name."

Among the reforms he urged districts to adopt: Houston's method of keeping track of how students are faring.

Here's what he said:

Of course, raising standards alone will not make much of a difference unless we provide teachers and principals with the information they need to make sure students are prepared to meet those standards. Far too few states have data systems like the one in Florida that keep track of a student's education from childhood through college. And far too few districts are emulating the example of Houston and Long Beach, and using data to track how much progress a student is making and where that student is struggling - a resource that can help us improve student achievement, and tell us which students had which teachers so we can assess what's working and what's not.

HISD, of course, was very familiar with lavish praise (deserved or not) during the Bush administration.

That's what happens when you tap an HISD superintendent for Secretary of Education, touting a "Houston Miracle" that later comes under fire for being the statistical equivalent of steroids in baseball.

But now there's a new administration in town, and the praise keeps coming. Lord knows it couldn't be that they're doing something right at the Hattie Mae White building; they must be paying these presidents off.

We've asked the district if they have any response to the shout-out; we'll let you know if they do.

Update: District spokesman Norm Uhl has put out a press release touting the statement.

The Houston Independent School District uses a growth model to determine how much growth each student makes from year to year to identify strengths and weaknesses, so that our teachers can build on strengths and intervene early on to turn weaknesses into strengths. We also use this measurement to determine teacher performance pay....If you like more information or would like to do a story on the growth model that has captured the attention of President Obama feel free to contact me.

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