This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
Ten years after it was enacted, the No Child Left Behind Act needs overhauling. On that there is little disagreement.
But on how to do it? A lot of disagreement.
A polarized Congress hasn’t done anything to address the flaws in the education legislation that was a centerpiece of President George W. Bush’s presidency. The Obama administration’s unilateral decision to grant states waivers from the law should prod Congress to make substantive changes in NCLB.
The waivers – which are allowed under NCLB – would let states bypass 10 provisions of the act, including the requirement that all children show proficiency in reading and math by 2014. In return, states would have to impose their own standards to prepare students for college and careers and adopt more stringent performance-based evaluation standards for teachers and principals.
NCLB has served an important purpose by focusing money and attention on the worst-performing schools and the children who had few alternatives to attending them. Read more »