President Promotes No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Reauthorization
Ohanian Comment: People arguing the states rights position on NCLB find themselves with strange bedfellows: The Bush administration's No Child Left Behind program represents one of the largest expansions of the federal government's unconstitutional invasion of education since Jimmy Carter's creation of the DOE in 1979.
By William F. Jasper
On October 5, President Bush called for reauthorization of his federal education centerpiece, the "No Child Left Behind Act." He stated: "No Child Left Behind is working and we've been strategizing here as to how to make sure we not only defend it during the reauthorization process, but how we strengthen the law."
Follow this link to the White House press release: President Discusses NCLB Reauthorization at the Education Department
On October 5, President Bush called for reauthorization of his federal education centerpiece, the "No Child Left Behind Act." He stated: "I want to thank Secretary Spellings and her fine team for welcoming me here to the Department of Education. I have just reassured the Secretary and the folks who work here that the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act is a priority of this administration. And the reason I say it's a priority is because this act is working. We strongly believe in setting high standards for all students and we strongly believe that in order to make sure those standards are met we must measure to determine whether or not the schools are functioning the way we expect them to function, and the way the parents expect them to function, and the way the taxpayers expect them to function. No Child Left Behind is working and we've been strategizing here as to how to make sure we not only defend it during the reauthorization process, but how we strengthen the law."
The U.S. Department of Education has been considered anathema by constitutionalists and all genuine Republicans since its creation by Congress in 1979, under a hard-fought campaign led by President Jimmy Carter, Liberal-left Democrats and the radical teachers' unions (most especially the National Education Association). Throughout the 1980s, abolition of the Department of Education was a major plank of the Republican Party's national platform, as well as most state GOP platforms. However, President Reagan and President Bush, Sr. made no significant efforts to carry out that platform pledge during their administrations.
President George W. Bush, who has a Republican-controlled Congress to back him up, has not only completely abandoned that once-central GOP dogma, but gone in the opposite direction, promoting an expanded federal involvement and intrusion into education matters.
While campaigning for the presidency in 2000, candidate George W. Bush was careful in his stump speeches and debates to give the impression to the conservative constituency he was courting. As the Associated Press reported on February 23, 2000, candidate Bush said:
"As president, I will fundamentally change the relationship between the states and federal government in education. I strongly believe in local control of schools and curriculum."
Shortly after taking up residency at the White House, on April 11, 2001, he again reiterated this theme, stating:
"One of the things I look forward to working with the Congress on is to explaining to those who don't quite understand that all knowledge doesn't exist in Washington; that in order to have excellence in our schools, we've got to trust local people. And I mean we need to pass power out of Washington, D.C., to empower the governors and local school boards to make the right decisions for the children in their respective states -- because one size does not fit all when it comes to the education of American children. (Applause.)"
The Bush administration's No Child Left Behind program represents one of the largest expansions of the federal government's unconstitutional invasion of education since Jimmy Carter's creation of the DOE in 1979. Unfortunately, many of those who opposed that earlier federal encroachment under a Democrat administration, are now applauding this expanded encroachment under a Republican administration.
William F. Jasper is Senior Editor for The New American magazine.
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INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES