Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NCLB: No Centralization Left Behind

One of the strangest products of the Bush Administration is "No Child Left Behind".

It used to be that most Republican politicians preferred smaller government.

It used to be that most Republican politicians preferred local governance.

And on occasion, you find Republican politicians who will fight for educational vouchers, charter schools-- or some reform that would inject competition into a monopolistic system. (We understand that many self-labeled 'liberals" don't embrace this because they're elitists, statists, and/or in the pockets of a powerful special interest group.)

Bush gave lip service to all of these and then embraced NCLB-- a federal attempt to regulate a government entity with tremendous monopoly power-- espeically over those with less income. (Good luck with that!)

On Thursday, the C-J reproduced an op-ed based on a study about NCLB released by the Cato Institute. The first four paragraphs:

The looming expiration of the federal No Child Left Behind Act has prompted a flood of commission reports, studies and punditry.

Virtually all of those analyses have assumed that the law should and will be reauthorized, disagreeing only over how it should be revised. They have accepted the law's premises without argument: that government-imposed standards and bureaucratic "accountability" are effective mechanisms for improving American education and that Congress should be involved in their implementation.

In this paper, we put those preconceptions under a microscope and subject NCLB to a thorough review. We explore its effectiveness to date and ask whether its core principles are sound. We find that No Child Left Behind has been ineffective in achieving its intended goals, has had negative unintended consequences, is incompatible with policies that do work, is at the mercy of a political process that can only worsen its prospects, and is based on premises that are fundamentally flawed.

We further conclude that NCLB oversteps the federal government's constitutional limits -- treading on a responsibility that, by law and tradition, is reserved to the states and the people. We therefore recommend that NCLB not be reauthorized and that the federal government return to its constitutional bounds by ending its involvement in elementary and secondary education.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home