Friday :: Feb 20, 2004

Administration Fails School Test


by Mary

Posted by Mary
When Karl Rove set the legislation priorities for the Bush administration, one of the key plays was to neutralize the Democratic advantage on education by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. As Rove focused on how to make NCLB play for Bush, he had two basic goals:

  • remove this issue from the Deomratic playbook by making the public believe that Republicans cared about educating kids
  • promote private school vouchers

At first this seemed to be working - the NCLB act signaled the public that Bush really cared about education and so the Democrats no longer could claim an advantage on this front. However, the bill was also written to help make the case that public schools were failing thus helping promote the alternative solution: vouchers.

Unfortunately for President Bush, the failures of the schools to reach the goals set by NCLB backfired when insufficient funds were provided for schools to help and the bill's built-in flaws caused too many schools to fail. By then it was clear to parents that this just wasn't reasonable because they knew their schools weren't that bad. Now many people now see it is the law is failing.

Now instead of being a plus for Bush, this law is proving to be a problem. So it is not surprising to see the Bush administration trying to improve the law so as to reclaim the high ground.

The Bush administration moved yesterday to defuse mounting criticism of its landmark No Child Left Behind law by announcing a significant relaxation of testing requirements for students with limited knowledge of English.

The new regulations will make it easier for schools to meet the annual targets set by the Department of Education and aimed at bringing the performance of all U.S. students up to grade level in math and reading by 2014.

According to an independent study, about 28 percent of schools nationwide failed to meet the targets last year, triggering a mandatory set of costly remedial measures, such as supplemental tuition services and offers to move children to different schools if space is available.

Can this law be fixed? Personally, I question whether it can be, especially if the underlying goal to show how public schools are failing in order to promote vouchers is not changed. And it is clear that this administration will never provide the funds to make this program really work, so the public is recognizing that this law is just a cynical ploy to screw them and to dumb down a whole generation of students.

Mary :: 4:32 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!