Nel Noddings claims that the No Child Left Behind Act is a “bad law” and that it will not be made better through full funding (“Rethinking a Bad Law,” Feb. 23, 2005). Cogent as her essay may be, Ms. Noddings has missed the main point: The law is not just bad, it is unconstitutional.
The issue of whether this federal law would be made better by more funding is irrelevant. There is no authority in the U.S. Constitution for the federal government to tax for education across the states (see Article 1, Section 8). So federal funding should not even be applied to this law, regardless of whether or not it makes the law better.
What will it take for educators to insist on constitutional integrity regarding education issues? The word “education” is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. How can we hope to educate a citizenry with full knowledge of and adherence to our founding document if we do not insist on that for ourselves?
William F. “Wally” Cox Jr.
Professor of Education
Virginia Beach, Va.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2005 edition of Education Week as It’s Not Just a Bad Law, It’s Unconstitutional