Education

Obama Sounds As If He Wants to ‘Get NCLB Right’

July 15, 2008 1 min read
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On Saturday, a teacher asked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a softball question: “What would you do to correct President Bush’s ‘every child left behind’ policy?” The audience cheered.

All Obama had to do was say “Get rid of it,” listen for the applause, and move on.

But he didn’t, according to Scott Elliott of the Dayton Daily News. Reporting for EWA’s Education Election blog, Elliott transcribes Obama’s extended answer.

Here are two quotes almost short enough to fit on a bumper sticker, but they summarize where Obama stands:

The basic concept of No Child Left Behind was a good one." "The problem was in the execution."

What he likes: NCLB’s goals of raising academic standards and improving teacher quality. What he doesn’t like: He says NCLB has been inadequately funded and puts too much emphasis on testing.

After reading the whole answer, I’d say that Obama sounds like he’s in line with the AFT’s original NCLB slogan: “Let’s Get it Right.” He certainly isn’t saying: “Let’s Get Rid of It,” as the union’s leadership was saying in Chicago this weekend.

EQUAL TIME: Carly Fiorina, a top adviser of Sen. John McCain, appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Here’s a snippet from her take on the presumptive Republican nominee’s stands on NCLB:

He believes that No Child Left Behind was an imperfect piece of legislation. Nevertheless, there are things about it that have worked. We need to learn the lessons, fix the problems, fully fund it, and continue to focus on the education of our children as well as the education and training of our displaced workers."

He wants to “fully fund” NCLB. That’s news to me. And it certainly doesn’t fit with McCain’s proposal to freeze discretionary spending.

You can read the whole transcript or skip straight to the page where Fiorina and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., talk about NCLB.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.

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