Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Federal Federal File

Hillary Clinton on NCLB

By Alyson Klein — May 08, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Although the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination has been under way in earnest for a couple of months now, most of the candidates have been largely silent about their views on the No Child Left Behind Act.

But late last month, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the current front-runner, sharply criticized the federal education law in a speech to teachers from her state. She said it has narrowed schools’ curricula and relies too heavily on standardized tests at the expense of student creativity.

“We can all agree that we do need measures,” Sen. Clinton told the New York State United Teachers’ annual convention in Washington on April 27. “We do need accountability. But not the kind of accountability that the NCLB law has imposed on people. Not only has it been funded at less than has been promised, it’s been administered with a heavy and arbitrary hand.”

“It’s time we had a president who cares more about learning than about memorizing,” she added. “The tests have become the curriculum instead of the other way around.”

The crowd of about 3,000 at the Washington Hilton erupted into thunderous applause.

Sen. Clinton voted for the bipartisan No Child Left Behind measure in 2001. As a formal presidential candidate since January, she has yet to release any detailed proposals for overhauling the law, which is due for reauthorization this year.

The 575,000-member NYSUT, which is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, has been highly critical of the law, calling for it to be more flexible and less punitive.

While Sen. Clinton gave her audience—some of whom hissed at the mere mention of No Child Left Behind—plenty to cheer about, she reasserted her support for charter schools, to the chagrin of some.

Sen. Clinton’s remarks on the law may be shaped by a need to appeal to the most active members of the Democratic base, many of whom are educators, said Jack Jennings, a veteran aide to House Democrats who now heads the Center for Education Policy, a Washington research and advocacy organization. But he said it can be tough to predict policy changes from presidential-campaign speeches.

“Sometimes the rhetoric goes beyond the amendments” to the law a candidate would make, Mr. Jennings said.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see No Child Left Behind, Testing and Accountability, Curriculum and Learning and our Federal news page.

A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs 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.
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
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

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 Biden Admin. Says New K-12 Agenda Tackles Absenteeism, Tutoring, Extended Learning
The White House unveiled a set of K-12 priorities at the start of an election year.
4 min read
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participates in a roundtable discussion with students from Dartmouth College on Jan. 10, 2024, on the school's campus, in Hanover, N.H.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participates in a roundtable discussion with students from Dartmouth College on Jan. 10, 2024, on the school's campus, in Hanover, N.H.
Steven Senne/AP
Federal Lawmakers Want to Reauthorize a Major Education Research Law. What Stands in the Way?
Lawmakers have tried and failed to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act over the past nearly two decades.
7 min read
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, joins Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, as Starbucks founder Howard Schultz answers questions about the company's actions during an ongoing employee unionizing campaign, at the Capitol in Washington, on March 29, 2023.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, joins Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, at the Capitol in Washington, on March 29, 2023. The two lawmakers sponsored a bill to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Federal Will the Government Actually Shut Down This Time? What Educators Should Know
The federal government is once again on the verge of shutting down. Here's why educators should care, but shouldn't necessarily worry.
1 min read
Photo illustration of Capitol building and closed sign.
iStock
Federal Biden Admin. Warns Schools to Protect Students From Antisemitism, Islamophobia
The U.S. Department of Education released a "Dear Colleague" letter reminding schools of their obligation to address discrimination.
3 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview in his office at the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP