What Diane Would Do: Ravitch’s Stance on NCLB Differs From Pundit’s Vision

November 10, 2008 1 min read

David Brooks of The New York Times is dreaming of an Obama administration that defies traditional Democratic policies.

He’d like to see “liberal Republicans” like Diane Ravitch, McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent working for the new president.

These people will be take stances that are neither conservative nor liberal. Among other things, “they’ll insist on merit pay and preserving No Child Left Behind’s accountability standards, no matter what the teachers’ unions say.”

Like a lot of dreams, this one doesn’t make sense. Diane Ravitch is about as anti-NCLB as commenter John Thompson (see his latest argument against the law and two Washington insiders’ forecast for it).

Take a look at some of the things Ravitch has written or said about NCLB in the past year:

By now, even [NCLB's] defenders understand that the people who must implement the law are hostile to it and know it is unworkable." On Bridging Differences, Oct. 27 "NCLB has narrowed the curriculum, made a fetish of testing and test prepping, and has invaded the classroom in ways that are harmful to teaching." During a Sept. 24 at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Watch the debate in the video embedded below. The quote is at about the 12 minute mark. "Despite the rosy claims of the Bush administration, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 is fundamentally flawed." Writing in The New York Times, Oct. 3, 2007

If David Brooks actually wants accountability to survive in the next generation of NCLB, he better hope his dream doesn’t come true.

Resolved: A Larger Federal Role in Education is Needed in the 21st Century. Lessons from NCLB. from Education Gadfly on Vimeo.

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