Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kennedy on NCLB reauthorization

The No Child Left Behind Act is the most sweeping effort to improve American schools and remedy educational inequalities since Brown vs. Board of Ed and the end of legal school segregation. But thanks to some fundamental flaws in the law’s design, ham-fisted implementation by the federal Department of Education, and President Bush’s tanking popularity, the law has become a political hot potato. While school reform has long been a primarily Democratic issue – and despite the fact that NCLB is tied to millions of dollars in federal funding for high-poverty schools – each of the Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning against law, and its reauthorization is very much in question.

Yesterday, one of the law’s principle authors and the ranking Democratic in the Senate Education Committee, Edward Kennedy took to the Washington Post op-ed page to make the case for NCLB reauthorization. The article’s most striking moment comes at the end, when Kennedy channels his brother, Robert Kennedy, asking “What happened to the children?” It’s a question that bears asking again and again. We ask so much of our schools – they free parents up to work outside of the home. anchor our communities, provide jobs, help keep our streets safe, drive our economy growth – that we sometimes forget that their most important job is to educate children. Whatever you think of NCLB or Kennedy’s argument, he’s right about that.

2 comments:

Group 4 said...

The main point that we took from the post was that they are trying to reauthorize NCLB and focus more on raising standards between schools. However they are failing to recognize that there are many loopholes in NCLB, for example that it is underfunded. PLus, they are diverting teachers from teaching the material than teaching according to standards.

The other point they fail to realize is that education in America will not disintegrate if NCLB is not passed.

Laurie Hansen said...

I have a difficult time understanding why Senator Kennedy supported NCLB in the first place and why he continues to support it now, despite the many concerns that have been expressed with regard to this law. He mentions on his web site that NCLB was not fully funded, but that is just one part of the problem with the law. However, I do not think that "getting rid of NCLB", as former presidental candidate Bill Richardson stated in a recent debate, is the answer. NCLB is the re-authorization of the Education and Secondary Education Act of 1965, a law that helped education in our country in many ways. I definitely need to learn more about appropriate reform to the law, but at this point to throw the baby out with the bathwater does not seem like a good idea.