A Matter of Opinion
Newspaper editorials across the country have had a lot to say about the No Child Left Behind Act, whether defending it, lambasting it, or falling somewhere in the middle. They have also passed judgment on the actions of federal, state, and local officials in carrying out the law.
On March 21, the Chicago Tribune devoted its entire main editorial column to a discussion of the law titled "The school reform backlash." The paper remains firmly in favor of the law. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland has written nearly 20 editorials about the law since last summer.
Below is a sampling of opinion from recent months:
March 16, 2004:
"It’s time for New Mexico to leave President Bush’s sad excuse for education reform behind. Despite claims to the contrary, the No Child Left Behind Act is a catastrophe in the making."
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
(Little Rock) June 6, 2004:
"In essence, all No Child Left Behind asks is a little accountability, which is just what alarms too much of this country’s educational establishment."
The Boston Globe
March 26, 2004:
"The federal No Child Left Behind Act is badly underfunded and too inflexible to be effective as an education reform measure. Corrective legislation may be needed to ensure that the 2002 law lives up to its promise: ensuring that every child in the nation has access to high- quality schools."
March 21, 2004:
"Some of the law’s rules need to be tweaked, and in some cases they have been. But the main mission of the law should be unquestioned: Schools will be held accountable for their record in teaching all children, regardless of race, income, or disability."
The Des Moines Register
Nov. 30, 2003:
"It is heavy handed, underfunded, and top-down federal intrusion into local schools. All these flaws flow from one fundamental misconception— that schools alone can fix every child’s problem. To really leave no child behind, the act should be replaced with a series of initiatives to improve the lives of children generally—in and out of school."
The New York Times
March 2, 2004:
"The new law will need tinkering here and there. But its goal and its general roadmap for getting there are the right ones. For the effort to truly equalize education to succeed, Congress will need to fight off destructive schemes by lobbyists and bureaucrats of both parties who are working hard to undermine the new initiative and to preserve the bad old status quo."
The Plain Dealer
(Cleveland) March 24, 2004:
"Certainly, some critiques are valid, but the overarching principles behind the legislation remain admirable—and important. Thus, while administration officials work to make their accountability efforts more palatable, they must be careful not to make them so meek as to be irrelevant."
San Jose Mercury News
March 31, 2004:
"For the fourth time in weeks, the federal Department of Education has budged on onerous demands of No Child Left Behind. Throw in a few more changes, and the education law may make sense."
The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 15, 2004:
"Critics of President Bush’s education program, the No Child Left Behind Act, now accuse him of enforcing the law on the cheap. We agree the law has its faults, and said so when it roared through Congress two years ago, but lack of funding isn’t close to being one of them. … [T]he law at least signaled a federal commitment to standards-based reform. Given who’s now complaining loudest, the reform seems to be working. Accountability measures are in place and money isn’t simply flowing to the states for nothing in return."
Vol. 23, Issue 41, Page 33Published in Print: June 23, 2004, as A Matter of Opinion