Friday, May 09, 2008

Bush's Second Biggest Debacle

Love that title. Wish I'd said that but Deborah White beat me to it. She refers to No Child Left Behind, the domestic smoke screen calculated to distract from the president's first biggest debacle: the Iraq adventure.

She ticks off the shortcomings...

►Teaching to tests, rather than teaching to facilitate learning
►Excessive testing of almost all grade levels
►Elimination of art, music, foreign language study, even sports in many schools
►Reduction of teaching subjects not on the tests, including science and civics
►Labeling tens of thousands of schools as chronic failures, but offering little additional support
►Targeting thousands of schools, mainly in low-income areas, for closure due to failure to meet stringent federal standards, with the teachers and principals targeted for firing
►Attempting to force districts with failing schools to support charter schools or fund students at private schools

Deborah White has done her homework. Drill into a string of links for details. Here are the punchlines to this column:

Some legislators, including Sen. Kennedy, believe that with sufficient funding, the original aims of No Child Left Behind can be met. But those voices are dwindling to a minority.
Many Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, believe that with a major overhaul, NCLB is salvageable. Others, such as former presidential candidate Gov. Bill Richardson propose to entirely scrap it and start over with a program more supportive of teachers.

Sen. Barack Obama would consider public education of his top presidential priorites, and has put forth plans and spoken of it extensively and passionately. For details, see:

***Obama's Education Plan to Reform Schools & Reward Teachers
Obama Slams No Child Left Behind, Speaks Out for Teachers

Look for education reform to be loom large in the 2008 presidential election as John McCain desperately strives to avoid the issue. Check back here for my coverage of this urgent issue.

One thing is certain about George Bush's No Child Left Behind Act: As is, it's a destructive, convoluted and expensive mess. Just like the Iraq War.

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