[Susan notes: It is good to praise reporters when they're right and to call them to account when their adjectives diminish the resistance movement.]
Published in Washington Post
Michael Dobbs characterization of the strength of the growing opposition of states to the NCLB act is misleading. While twice he stated that "several states" have joined in a movement of opposition to this act, the reality is that many states have recently voiced their growing resentment over the confining, restrictive, financially demanding and unrealistic policies of this act. Legislatures in Utah, Connecticut, Texas, Michigan, and Vermont are presently pursuing litigation against NCLB; and in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Virginia, legislatures are in various stages of opposition.
The National Education Association (NEA), a union of 2.7 million members that represents many public educators, has focused its attention on a lawsuit aimed to free schools from complying with any part of the education law not paid for by the federal government. The outcome would apply only to the nine school districts in Michigan, Texas, and Vermont, plus 10 NEA chapters in those three states and Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah (the districts involved in the litigation), but it could have implications for all schools, nationwide.
Recently, The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), comprising bipartisan lawmakers from all 50 states, released the 2004 results of their yearlong review of the NCLB act of 2001. The study* reported that the NCLB act was unnecessarily punitive, flawed, unconstitutional, controlling, and undermining, and encouraged more of the same profoundly damaging strategies in its implementation. In their summary, they asked that the federal government remove the one-size- fits-all method that measures student performance and encourage more sophisticated and accurate systems that gauge the growth of individual students and not just groups of students.
Dobbs is correct in his analysis that there is "nothing small about the fight" between the people who devote their energies to our educational system and the officers in the federal education department who want them silenced. The many schools, teachers, administraters, parents and students addressing the impacts of this act, at a minimum, deserve an accurate count.
*(National Conference of State Legislatures. Task Force on No Child Left Behind Report. www.ncsl.org/programs/press/2005/NCLB_exec_summary.htm.)
Anne E. Levin Garrison