ESEA Prospects – Why Is An Education Law That Everybody Apparently Hates So Hard To Change?

Yesterday my daughter (4) asked me what my column this week is about.  So I told her, it’s about this law for schools that needs to be changed but the people in charge can’t agree on how to do it.  “You mean they all want something different?” she asked.  I said, yeah, pretty much.  And she responded, “well that will never work!”  My School of Thought column this week at TIME has a little more context but that’s actually a pretty good synopsis:

The Obama Administration is doubling down on its push to overhaul the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Last Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before Congress and aggressively urged action to revise the landmark and contentious education law that was passed in 2001. The President began this week with a speech at a northern Virginia middle school urging Congress to act and then spent part of Tuesday cutting several radio interviews prodding Capitol Hill even more.

This isn’t the first time the Administration has implored Congress to change this law: it’s been a constant drumbeat since 2009 (the law was due to be “reauthorized,” Washingtonspeak for tuned up, in 2007 but Congress couldn’t agree on how to do it) and even during the 2008 campaign. Now, frustrated with the lack of action, Obama and Duncan are trying a new approach: scaring Congress into acting. Both Obama and Duncan are highlighting Department of Education estimates that more than 80% of schools will not meet performance targets this year if the law isn’t changed. One wag dubbed the new strategy a “fail wail.”

Congress didn’t seem to buy the new 80% figure, or at least didn’t care. And it’s not a very credible number to begin with…But Obama doesn’t have a lot of cards left to play and he does have a basic point worth heeding: the No Child law was never intended to run for nine years without some changes, and it’s starting to show its age.

Read the entire thing here.

One Reply to “ESEA Prospects – Why Is An Education Law That Everybody Apparently Hates So Hard To Change?”

  1. it is my professional opinion that NCLB has been leaving behind our minorities for years. It is producing an entire generation that thinks the world is a right or wrong answer, that there is no grey area. States that are focused only on testing results in order to increase federal funding are missing the key concept of schools. The chance to teach the new generation of leaders who will emerge on crucial concept-how to think. Forget about performance pay for teachers, forget about testing scores, forget about meeting prfecieny levels and realize that the future generations of America are falling behind because there is no room in the NCLB standards to creativly think, to be outside the box, because time is mearly focused on learning the “right” answers. Thank goodness the following people were not part of this generation
    1. Apollo 13 asternauts and groud crew-we would have lost them in space
    2. The man traped in a cave for 127 hours, he would have just chose choice B the logical death answer
    and 3. MLK-he never would have had his dream because there was no way for him to achieve it in a standardized world.
    Lets fix the current problem people-lets find a way to allow NCLB to truly not leave any student behind and when we pass tht tourch to the new generations, they will be able to keep it lit through critical and creative ways in order to solve the future problems of tomorrow

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