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NCLB Outrages

Reaction to State of the Union Address

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Andrew Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute:

As in previous State of the Union addresses, the president is once again calling for a trial federal school voucher program, now dubbed "Pell Grants for Kids". Ignoring the constitutional problems with this idea, it has no chance of passing in the Democratic-led House or Senate. But if the president really wants to promote parental choice programs around the country, there is one thing he could do: renounce his support for No Child Left Behind.

The whole idea of NCLB runs directly counter to parental choice ΓΆ€“ it is based on the discredited notion that central planning can bring about educational excellence. And NCLB is a proven failure. The results of the Program on International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Program on International Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS), released late last year, show stagnation or decline in U.S. student achievement over the life of the NCLB, across subjects and grades. If the president renounced his support for NCLB, calling on states to use their newfound freedom to create or expand school choice programs, it would have a far more dramatic and positive impact on American education than any other action he could take.

— Andrew Coulson
Cato Institute


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