The response to the “differentiated accountability” project shows one truth about NCLB: It’s hard to please everybody. Looking at reaction from the left and the right on Capitol Hill, you see tepid endorsements for the plan, followed by criticism of the law itself.
From the right, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the pilot project “a good step forward,” but added that it doesn’t go far enough. In his statement, Cornyn touted his bill, S. 893, that would give states “maximum freedom” to design their own initiatives in five-year performance contracts. The bill has the support of conservative senators—but not the Bush administration.
From the left, Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., calls the plan a “long overdue step” in a letter to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who announced the plan last week. But Walz indicates that the announcement won’t change his stance on the law: “NCLB is a deeply flawed mandate that is badly in need of significant reform and overhaul,” he writes. (Link via Bluestem Prairie.)
These reactions will mean little in the implementation of the latest pilot project. But they show how difficult it will be to gather the votes for NCLB reauthorization—whether it happens this year or next.
P.S. A letter to the editor of The New York Times gave a headline writer the chance to create the latest word play on the NCLB name: No Cynic Left Behind.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.