More on the Bush SOTU Acceptance Speech

Couple of thoughts on the Bush speech last night as it relates to education. First, the effort to enroll more eligible kids in health care is great. Why didn’t Clinton think of that? Oh wait, he did! Considering the Bush track record on implementation, Eduwonk’s not optimistic about this effort getting far with this crowd.

Also, here’s Bush on high schools, “As we make progress, we will require a rigorous exam before graduation.” Regardless of what one thinks about exit exams, this seems like an ill-considered idea for several reasons.

First, No Child Left Behind is causing the creation of more tests and modifications of others. The testing industry is about stretched to capacity. Is it really wise, then, in the midst of NCLB implementation, to start adding another — very complicated — layer? In addition, NCLB rightly focuses on consequences for adults, not for students (on the contrary it has specific benefits/rights for students). Why risk splintering the NCLB coalition further over an issue that many states are addressing one way or another on their own? And, that leads to the third concern, this is guaranteed to enrage state legislators and it’s unclear what the benefits will be.

Eduwonk doesn’t minimize the importance of high school reform, but on that front there are bigger (and politically smarter) fish to fry than this.

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