As 2008 begins, the press and the political world are focused on presidential politics. As Sam Dillon of The New York Times reported before Christmas, NCLB has been a punching bag for Democrats on the campaign trail. If you read to the end, though, you’ll see that the leading candidates support the law’s goals and use of accountability.
But state-level politicians want to beat up on NCLB, too. In Minnesota, Republicans plan to introduce a bill this legislative session that would require the state to pull out of NCLB, according to the Star Tribune. They failed to win passage of the same bill last year. The state would lose an estimated $250 million in federal money if the effort is successful.
“We’ve had five years of the No Child Left Behind regime, and I think it’s safe to call it a failure now,” state Rep. Geoff Michel told the Minneapolis newspaper. “We’re giving it an F and trying to take back our schools.”
Ironically, the Democrat who led an earlier effort to turn away NCLB money isn’t impressed with the GOP plan. State Rep. Rep. Mindy Greiling said she’s now in the “amend-it-don’t-end it” camp.
State legislatures have had a history of making statements against NCLB. In 2005, a conservative Republican representative in Utah led the charge to pull the state out of the program. In 2004, Virginia’s legislature passed a resolution calling for a radical overhaul of the law. Both states continue to accept NCLB money, though.
In 2008, you’ll continue to hear NCLB messages from presidential candidates. But keep your ears open for what’s being said in St. Paul and other state capitals.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.