Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sen. Allen introduces a bill to amend NCLB

In today's Washington Post, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) has an editorial claiming that NCLB undermines school progress. In so doing, he describes the rationale for his bill to amend No Child Left Behind.

The bill, according to Allen, would return power for much educational decision making back to the states, where he says it belongs.

This is going to be a fascinating fight between Congressional Republicans and the White House, which, to this point, has been stubbornly opposed to any substantive change to NCLB.

The key paragraph:

Like President Bush, I would like to see all U.S. schools producing better results for the good of all America's youth. But I would hate to see the federal initiative for higher standards undermine the cause of standards for students in states where high academic standards and accountability measures are already in place. Ultimately, we should not allow the self-defeating micromanagement that is characteristic of No Child Left Behind to undercut such states.

"Self defeating micromangement." Ouch, Senator, don't be so mean.

While the editorial is an interesting read, he didn't do a very good job explaining the problem I think he has with No Child Left Behind. Put simply, the NLCB standards are for a minimum percentage of passing scores on state-chosen tests. So a state that elects to have difficult tests, like Virginia, can end up looking very bad (and losing federal money), while a state with easy tests can look very good when, in fact, the state with difficult tests may be doing a much better job educating its children.

I'm not sure how his legislation would fix that problem, but I'm interested to have a look at it and some analyses of the bill. And, as always, the fight between true conservative Republicans and the grow-the-government-as-fast-as-we-can while-we're-in-power-Republicans should be fascinating. I think we'll see more such squabbles as Bush's second term continues. Stay tuned...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of NCLB proponents, there is an article in the NYTIMES magazine interviewing Spellings, who claims that Texas teaches evolution and creationism equally factually... Is this true? I didn't think Texas taught creationism. Any Texas biology teachers out there?

Here's the passage:
What do you make of the current controversy in Kansas over whether creationism should be taught along with evolution?

I can tell you that in Texas we did go through this issue, when Bush was governor and I was working for him. We ended up -- the curriculum says basically that both points of view are taught from a factual basis.

How can creationism be taught from a factual basis? Are you implying that events in the Bible should be taught in the public schools as literal history?

I'm not implying anything. I'm just saying that my recollection from my Texas days is that both points of view were presented. ...

8:08 PM  

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