Federal Federal File

GOP Field Dips Into NCLB Issues

By Alyson Klein — May 22, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

There wasn’t a single question on the No Child Left Behind Act or federal education policy during the Republican presidential debate in Columbia, S.C., last week. But a number of the 10 candidates managed to inject the NCLB law into the discussion anyway.

The May 15 debate hinted at the division within the Republican Party over whether the law amounts to an unwarranted expansion of the federal role in education or brings greater accountability to K-12 schools.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he originally subscribed to one point of view, but then he shifted to the other.

“Once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education,” Mr. Romney said during the 90-minute debate at the University of South Carolina. “That was my position when I ran for Senate in 1994. That’s very popular with the [GOP] base.”

But during his stint in the Massachusetts statehouse, Mr. Romney said he witnessed “the impact the federal government can have holding down the interest of teachers’ unions and instead putting the interest of parents and teachers first.”

“I like testing in our schools,” he added. “I think it allows us to get better schools, better teachers.”

But some of the other GOP candidates criticized the NCLB law—and their rivals for supporting it when Congress passed it with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in 2001.

“I don’t think the Republican position ought to be more bureaucracy,” said Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who voted against the measure. “I mean, why did we double the size of the Department of Education?”

Although former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was largely silent about the law during the debate, he made it the subject of a campaign video, posted last month on YouTube, the popular site for Web video.

“The federal No Child Left Behind Act is often misunderstood and unfairly maligned as a total federal intrusion,” Mr. Huckabee says in the video. “As long as the states are allowed to develop their own benchmark exams to determine the manner in which they create standards, and are aware of the consequences of failure to adhere to them, there’s a value in having a national effort to at least set high standards.”

See Also

For more stories on this topic see our Federal news page.

A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Citing Educator and Parent Anxieties, Senators Press Biden Officials on Omicron Response
Lawmakers expressed concern about schools' lack of access to masks and coronavirus tests, as well as disruptions to in-person learning.
5 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, testify before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, testify at a Senate hearing about the federal response to COVID-19.
Greg Nash/Pool via AP
Federal Miguel Cardona Should Help Schools Push Parents to Store Guns Safely, Lawmakers Say
More than 100 members of Congress say a recent shooting at a Michigan high school underscores the need for Education Department action.
3 min read
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the residence of parents of the Oxford High School shooter on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Federal In Reversal, Feds Seek to Revive DeVos-Era Questions About Sexual Misconduct by Educators
The Education Department's decision follows backlash from former education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other conservatives.
4 min read
Illustration of individual carrying binary data on his back to put back into the organized background of 1s and 0s.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Biden Administration Lays Out Its Top Priorities for Education Grants
The pandemic's impact and a diverse, well-prepared educator workforce are among areas the administration wants to fund at its discretion.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 5, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a White House briefing.
Susan Walsh/AP