New NCLB Data, Old NYT NCLB Spin…And, Bonus Targeting Overkill At No Extra Cost!

New CEP report on NCLB implementation, they’ve been tracking some indicators since the law’s passage. Some spin but worth reading, interesting data throughout and no one else is taking this cut at it.

NYT here. Nutshell: Some achievement gap closing (which is of course the aim of the law) mentioned in passing…but then…enough about that! Let’s get back to all the carping, complaints and problems! This graf is a standout beauty:

Indeed, federal money for educating poor students has increased by several billion dollars in the last five years, the department’s records show. But while those dollars have grown, Mr. Jennings said, they have been increasingly focused on urban districts with high concentrations of poverty, leaving many others with dwindling shares of money.

Oh brother, where do you start? The Department’s records? Eduwonk doesn’t trust the department’s “records” nor would most NYT readers….but wait, we can look in the annual congressional appropriations bills…this is not a dispute about differing records or accounts, it’s public record! And, for the record, funding for NCLB has increased by $8.9 billion since 2001 (that’s billion with a b) isn’t that more than “several”? Must be that inflation we’re hearing about, it’s impacting language, too. And, yes, federal education dollars are more targeted to urban and high poverty communities because of NCLB. But hello? Shouldn’t the money be targeted toward poor kids? The federal treasury is not a bottomless pit after all and overall it’s poor communities that have the most trouble raising state and local funds anyway. Shouldn’t liberals/progressives and Democrats be for such targeting? Oh wait, right, Bush is in office, gotta burn the village to save it…

Targeting Overkill (now with free bonus variables!):

Possible outcomes of the complaints about targeting: (a) More funding overall. Would be nice, probably not going to happen. (b) Loosening of targeting to spread the money around a little more and assuage the political angst. More likely if the yelping gets loud enough.

But, since option (b) is (1) a lot more likely with Bush in office and Republicans controlling the Hill and (2) not really good for poor kids, what’s the upside of constantly carping on it? With Democrats raising issues like this, who needs Republicans?

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