A Victory for Education
Right. And some of my best friends are newspaper editors.
I have strong differences with the NEA on the No Child front too: they didn't have the guts to say it's a rotten bill and should be scrapped.
A federal judge in Michigan took exactly the right action last week when he dismissed a transparent attempt by the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, to sabotage the No Child Left Behind education act. The ruling validates Congress's right to require the states to administer tests and improve students' performance in exchange for federal education aid. Unfortunately, it will not put an end to the ongoing campaign to undermine the law, which seeks to hold teachers and administrators more closely accountable for how their schools perform.
Another lawsuit, by Connecticut, is still pending. Moreover, the N.E.A. is likely to appeal the decision in its own suit in an effort to continue its campaign of vilification against the law. The No Child Left Behind program is the first in American history to require that states improve students' performance, and shrink the achievement gap between rich and poor students, in exchange for the billions of dollars they receive in federal aid.
The teachers' union tipped its hand when it argued in the lawsuit that its members were being stigmatized when the schools where they worked were found to be performing poorly under federal law. Why does it put so much emphasis on the teachers? What about the children whose lives are cast into permanent shadow when they have to attend dismal, nonperforming schools?
The N.E.A. and the local school districts that joined the suit claimed that the federal government had illegally required the states and localities to spend their own money on testing. While it seems clear that test development is one of the better-financed parts of the law, improving school systems nationwide will certainly require more time, effort and money than the country has yet invested. But that should not be an excuse for doing nothing.
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