After a rash of school violence this past week, the President thought it would be a great opportunity to push his non-functional political agenda in education. At a charter school in Washington state on Thursday, Bush spoke about renewing No Child Left Behind and the importance of the law. In the speech, he acknowledged that the law isn't working as well for parents as it should. What he should have said is that the law isn't working for anyone. Especially the people charged with carrying it out, the teachers.
Bush focused on two aspects of the law that have not been strongly enforced since the law was passed in 2001. For example, if a school "falls short" on yearly progress for two straight years, the school is required "to offer transfers to students." Also, if a school does not meet these goals for three straight years, the school "must offer low-income parents a choice of tutors." These two things seem to be a bit much. First off, just exactly where do they think these students are going to transfer too. This aspect of the law also assumes that it is the teachers and not the students that have the problem meeting goals.
My major problem with NCLB has always been its lack of student responsibility and accountability. It is not even there. Parts of the law such as these are proof of that. This law is destroying public education. It is demonizing teachers and it is leaving the profession searching for future recruits. And because of this law, they are few and far between.
Another thing Bush wants to do in the area of education is "pay for 28,000 low income students across the country to transfer to private schools." Why? What good does this do for education in this country? Who gets to pick the 28,000 students? What will the make-up of this group be? See questions like these are never answered. Too many times politics and education cross paths with disastrous results. Politician, like Bush, will say things that sound great. But these idealistic statements have no plan of action attached to them. Without that, they are little more than empty words. No Child Left Behind is nothing more than a politicians idea of a campaign slogan. It has nothing to do with helping students and everything to do with getting votes. If Congress has any sense, they will not renew this law and let it die.