More NCLB

WaPo’s Paley is back with a very important story on the symbolism of Rep. Peter Hoekstra’s new (though it’s not, essentially the same bill was circulated by many of the same folks in 2000-01) gut NCLB bill. The story gets the political coalitions right, and that is what really matters, but unfortunately repeats a few NCLB myths and tells us that “many voters in affluent suburban and exurban distrcts – GOP strongholds – think their schools have been adversely affected by the law” without, you know, telling us if there is any truth to that…

Still, not sure how much of this is big news: Conservatives don’t like federal authority and industries (e.g. all the ed establishment groups in this case and the school industry itself) don’t like being regulated. Dog bites man. So this is a marriage made in heaven and why, for instance, the National Education Association plays footsies with the most reactionary conservatives on the Hill. The interesting question, per the GOP stronghold issue, is where Democrats will come down in the end especially because of the special interest politics. I heard Hoekstra speak last week and enough of that might remind Democrats why they support strong federal authority in the first place…

Kevin Drum writes on this, too, (yesterday’s NCLB back and forth here) but again no data. Achievement gaps exist in all kinds of communities, including very affluent ones. Before his road to Paigeascus experience on No Child Mike Petrilli wrote very eloquently in the New York Times about how perhaps NCLB’s greatest potential was in the leafy suburbs where low-achieving students are frequently over looked. He was right. Even a quick look around SchoolMatters illustrates the problem. It’s not just the cities.

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