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[Susan notes: The writer is a professor of education law at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and he has written a fine letter pointing out what so many who cheer the new ESEA fail to acknowledge.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

As your Dec. 11 news article Revamping of No Child School Act Is Signed and Prof. David L. Kirp's Dec. 10 Op-Ed essay, Left Behind No Longer, make clear, delight over a new federal education law has more to do with replacing No Child Left Behind than the substance of the new law, a periodic revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Missed in the hoopla, however, is what looks like a permanent change in education policy. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was originally an anti-poverty statute. The new legislation continues No Child Left Behind's recast of the federal role as guarantor of school quality, an empty promise at best and a crucial deviation from the more appropriate focus on funding for students below the poverty line. A return to this mission will truly be cause for celebration when the law is again rewritten.

David C. Bloomfield

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