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NCLB Outrages

U.S. Education Chief: No Child Left Behind Act is not an unfunded mandate

Surely teachers will be glad to know that NCLB is not a mandate. . . not to mention that they are following in the footsteps of Socrates.

by Chad Livengood

If Jackson County educators and U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings ever got together to talk about the federal No Child Left Behind Act, they wouldn't agree on much.

In attempting to dispel myths about the six-year-old school accountability law, Spellings told educations writers Thursday that NCLB is "not an unfunded mandate" or a one size fits all program.

"It's not a mandate at all," Spellings said, noting that the states set the standards. "It is not a one size fits all federal prescription."
But if state's don't got along with the law, they lose federal funding.

So it's a do-this-or-we'll-shut-off-the-valve mandate?

The only mandate, Spellings said, is that Michigan and other states must produce test data and get every child at grade level by 2014.
She also said the federal law does not force teachers to teach to the MEAP test. She went on to defend that practice, though.

"There's not a thing wrong with teaching to the test," Spellings said last night during a Q&A at the Education Writers Association conference in Los Angeles that I'm attending.

Spellings added that teachers have been teaching to tests since the days of Greek philosopher Socrates.

On Monday, I attended a round table discussion at JCISD between Jackson County educators and U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton. There was a story in Tuesday's paper.

They all basically said the exact opposite of Spellings' optimistic assessment that the law is doing what President Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy intended.

They said the law has a simplistic approach that treats all children the same, which they clearly aren't.

"They're round pegs and we're trying to slam them into a square hole," Concord Superintendent Robert "Jay" Bada told Walberg.

— Chad Livengood
Citizen Patriot


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