This is a follow-up to my previous posts NCLB=NCGA, YCLB and on the world's best school systems.
Senator Harkin's draft for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (which was renamed No Child Left Behind after Mr. Bush's comprehensive transformation of the legislation in 2001) has reawakened debate over federal policy with regard to our schools, and that is to the good. Alexander Russo has recently warned that reformers had better weigh in on this issue or be left to rue the consequences of staying on the sidelines, and so I thought I might address the matter.
No Child Left Behind did not prevent millions of children from being left behind, and reduced and demeaned our public education system. Since this legislation represents our best opportunity for establishing a world-class education system in our country, we should have honest, fruitful discussions about it, and get the final product right.
I want my child to get ahead, and I am confident other parents feel the same way, so I almost titled this post "NCLB --> YCGA", the latter meaning "Your Child Gets Ahead". But this is public policy, and cannot restrict itself to private motivations; it has to provide for all children, including those whose parents do not participate in their children's educations, and it has to recognize that we all have to care for the young generation, whether we are parents or not (for surely adults will tend to be differently motivated towards education depending upon whether they are parents of current students, future students, former students who have left school, or are not parents at all).
Therefore No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a failure, needs to be transformed into a plan most likely to help All Children Get Ahead (ACGA). And I'll present a few founding principles for such a plan tomorrow.