CJR Comes Out Against NCLB

Will they be joining the various sign-on letters demanding changes in the law, too? This article, ostensibly about education reporting, is really a clever pop at No Child Left Behind. Does this mean the NEA has an inverse Armstrong Williams problem, meaning they’re pouring millions into anti-NCLB propaganda when they could be getting it for free? Could be…

In any event, This Week’s Russo does a good job of pointing out some problems (a tremendously superficial disappointment, he says), Eduwonk will just point to one line as an example of the meta-problem:

The second part of No Child Left Behind reflects Bush’s belief that the private sector is best equipped to carry out public reforms.

Eduwonk guesses (well actually knows from experience) that this sort of sweeping statement makes one sound very erudite and above today’s false consciousness at New York dinner parties and other salons. Only problem, where is the evidence to back it up? Bush has never really done much for vouchers, particularly in Texas, much to the disappointment of the Christian right, when he really could have. He sent his own kids to public schools. And, aside from supplemental services there isn’t much private sector activity in NCLB that wasn’t there long before Bush was dealing away Sammy Sosa, let alone running for public office.

There are certainly some holes in the President’s theory of change on education, but a relentless affinity to privatization simply isn’t one of them. NCLB’s a public school reform; it’s about voice and change, not exit. Ironically though, this sort of knee-jerk resistance may end up making it about exit…

Besides, across the board, aren’t there enough Bush policy problems already, why waste time making them up?

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