Okay, I said I was going to write about something else, and you wouldn’t believe how hard it was! But I’m sticking to it. Sort of. It forced me to go out looking at other people’s blogs and see what they are talking about. But still, nothing seemed to touch off my imagination.
I did read a very interesting paper on the No Child Left Behind Act from the Hoover Institute. I think this should be required reading for anyone who wants to discuss anything about NCLB, its reauthorization, its politics or provisions. Basically it tells about where it came from and how the thing got passed. The parties involved were so desperate to get some sort of education bill passed that they left a lot of ambiguities that needed to be worked out later. And these chickens are returning to roost, today, with all of the problems we see.
I predict that NCLB is either going to remain substantially the same or it is going to be left to rot on the vine. There are entirely too many competing interests in this thing for it to survive the sort of horse trading that took place in order for it to be passed the first time. What congress voted and cobbled together back then was something that no one was terribly happy with. No one, except George Bush.
NCLB is up for reauthorization in 2007, but I predict that it will not be reauthorized in 2007 but the stake holders will hold off until after the presidential election of 2008 just like they did in 1999. However, unlike the original NCLB bill, the reauthorization will come under serious fire from special interest groups and it will be ripped limb-from-limb. Both houses of congress are more divisive now than they were then. Each party has sought to kick their party moderates out in favor of more extremism on either side.
Those thinking this thing will just go away need to think again. Since each side of the debate is so polarized, I see things remaining frozen the way they are. Since everyone is equally unhappy, it’s safer to leave things the way they are rather than run the risk of making the level of unhappiness unequal and having some people more happy than others. Having some people happy, while leaving others more unhappy violates the spirit of NCLB which is to make sure that if no one is made happy than no one can be made more unhappy than someone else.
Okay, I’m still into policy with this post and need to post something that might be actually useful. How about semi humorous?
No Child Left Behind:
The Football Version
l. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.
2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL
3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren’t interested in football, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don’t like football.
4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.
5. This will create a New Age of sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.
If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.
Hat tip to my teacher-friend “Bubba” who was sent my URL but probably doesn’t read it because it’s not written by someone with a 1-900 number!