Education historian Diane Ravitch proposes a radical overhaul of NCLB in today’s New York Times (Get Congress Out of the Classroom). She points out all the usual flaws in the law, and, as in the past, she proposes that the feds collect and report out data (including the results of national testing), and the states and districts take back the whole school reform thing. However, Ravitch overstates NCLB’s reach into the process by quite a bit. Districts and schools aren’t actually doing what the current NCLB tells them to do with struggling schools, finding loopholes and complying nominally without making bigger changes. And they aren’t to my mind particularly likely to do more revamping with fewer prescriptions from Washington. National standards just aren’t viable this time around. And, perhaps most important, Congress is unlikely to pass (or fund) education programs that don’t give them a substantial say in trying to make education better. A big part of the funding increase that accompanied NCLB’s first years was lawmakers’ enthusiasm for the law.
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