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NCLB Outrages

Keep "No Child" moving forward

Siu-Runyan's COMMENT: NCLB has come a long way in six years, a long way toward regimentinging education. And it sure has made a lot of us angry with its deliberately planned horror. If this writer's comments mean that he thinks NCLB has taken us forward, then it makes me wonder about the writer's grip on reality.

Ohanian Comment: You've heard the bromide "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." This editorial carries that beyond absurdity. Proclaiming the undeniable beauty of NCLB carries us beyond absuridty or even run-of-the mill horror. But then, what can you expect of someone--or some committee--that uses beauty and rigor in the same sentence?


THE federal No Child Left Behind education law needs revamping before it is worthy of congressional reauthorization.

The law has been hobbled by its inflexibility. Schools are as different as the students within them. Benchmarks and measurements in education cannot come in a one-size-fits-all box. But the net effect of the law, and its undeniable beauty, has been its unwavering emphasis on injecting rigor and accountability into a system that previously had little of both.

Making these changes will require a nimble balancing act and a serious discussion about education funding. A cautionary note: the Bush administration, which created the law, is not the one to fix it. That task ought to fall to the next president and the individual selected to run the U.S. Department of Education.

Changes made in the waning days of the Bush administration would not be felt in the classroom until a new president is in office. Forcing a new administration to implement wholesale changes made by a previous one is a recipe for failure.

Waiting does not discount proposed changes recently put forth by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Indeed, some of the proposals ought to transfer to her successor ΓΆ€” particularly a plan to allow states to use multiple tests within a subject area as well as different types of questions. That's a welcome signal of flexibility.

Another idea requires more debate: Proposed changes in how states report graduation rates appear to place too much emphasis on "on-time" graduation. This is a distraction from the real work of moving struggling students through the system. Some students will graduate from high school in four years, others may need more time. A timer set by the feds is unnecessary.

Close scrutiny of these proposals is necessary. This cannot be done in the short time left to the current administration. The federal government's effort to reform public education has always been a work in progress. The law has come a long way in six years. It has further to go. Nothing will be lost here by holding things in place until the next administration takes over.

— Editorial
Seattle Times


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