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November 7, 2007

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11/08/07:  A-PLUS Act Q& A
11/08/07: S.893 A-PLUS comparison to H.R.1539 A-PLUS (pdf)
No Child Left Behind Now Stalled
2008 CAMPAIGN: End it, don't mend it.
NEA/Hillary Clinton Back NCLB
        
         Congressional re-funding of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is stuck, sunk in political quagmire. It should be ended, but an elite coalition of interests wants to "fix" it instead. In the 2008 congressional and presidential elections, support candidates  who will "End it, not mend it."

        
The three core mandates of NCLB that must be ended are:         Just one month ago, the powerful National Education Association (NEA) was optimistic about a NCLB "fix" passing with "multiple measures." Multiple measures are subjective and unreliable alternatives to objective tests. Multiple measures include measures such as portfolios (collections of a student's papers, projects and activities), graduation rates, and various other assessments that would be impossible to use for fair comparisons. Multiple measures and more money are the top NEA priorities for NCLB. Ending the core NCLB mandates, however, is not on its agenda.

        President Bush wants NCLB refunded, but he promises to veto the NEA/Democrat-backed changes that would simply put more money into meaningless outcomes.Sixty-three Republican House members, meanwhile, have challenged the President, the NEA, and the large corporate interests with a bill called the A-PLUS Act which returns accountability to the voters, where it belongs. Three of A-PLUS' co-authors are Republican Presidential candidates.

        Both the NEA and Hillary Clinton were central players in the 2001 passage of NCLB--as central as President Bush, Ted Kennedy, the National Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. The NEA and Hillary Clinton were at the table in 2001, and they are at the table today.

         Hillary Clinton's position on NCLB is: "While I firmly believe in the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act, the under-funding of this crucial law makes it impossible for teachers and schools to reach these goals." Hillary co-authored and helped negotiate the 2001 NCLB transfer of power to the federal government, the goal of equal outcomes, and AYP dictates. She simply wants more federal money to implement these counter-productive goals.

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At the NEA convention August 2007, EXCERPT from the Associated Press:
They all voted for it, but that was then. Democratic presidential candidates came out swinging Monday, not at each other but at the No Child Left Behind law. They spoke at the annual convention of the National Education Association, the nations largest teachers union.. The law [NCLB] passed with broad Democratic support in 2001...Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., sported the sticker on his own lapel as he called for the law to be overhauled. Its time that we get this law right, Dodd said, saying it needed higher funding levels, among other things. [Empahsis added.]
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[]   Policy Analysis
End It, Dont Mend It: What to Do with No Child Left Behind

EXCERPT from Executive Summary, September 5, 2007
by Neal McCluskey and Andrew J. Coulson

"Virtually all of those analyses have assumed that the law [No Child Left Behind] should and will be reauthorized, disagreeing only over how it should be revised. They have accepted the law's premises without argument: that government-imposed standards and bureaucratic "accountability" are effective mechanisms for improving American education and that Congress should be involved in their implementation...

"We find that No Child Left Behind has been ineffective in achieving its intended goals, has had negative unintended consequences, is incompatible with policies that do work, is at the mercy of a political process that can only worsen its prospects, and is based on premises that are fundamentally flawed. We further conclude that NCLB oversteps the federal government's constitutional limits-treading on a responsibility that, by law and tradition, is reserved to the states and the people. We therefore recommend that NCLB not be reauthorized and that the federal government return to its constitutional bounds by ending its involvement in elementary and secondary education." [Emphasis added.]
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Get Congress Out of the Classroom
By DIANE RAVITCH
October 3, 2007

EXCERPT:
The main goal of the law that all children in the United States will be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014 is simply unattainable. The primary strategy to test all children in those subjects in grades three through eight every year has unleashed an unhealthy obsession with standardized testing that has reduced the time available for teaching other important subjects. Furthermore, the law completely fractures the traditional limits on federal interference in the operation of local schools. Unfortunately, the Congressional leaders in both parties seem determined to renew the law, probably after next years presidential election, with only minor changes. But No Child Left Behind should be radically overhauled, not just tweaked. [Emphasis added.]
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Proficiency Illusion
By Liam Julian
October 4, 2007

EXCERPT:
"One of the biggest flaws with NCLB, for example, is its insistence that all students - 100 percent - be proficient in reading and math by 2014. That wont happen, of course. But no politician has the stomach to amend this irrational goal to a more manageable 70 or 80 percent, fearing that inevitable question: Which 20 percent children dont you care about?
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Making No Child Left Behind Worse
By Dan Lips

EXCERPT:
An early draft of the new NCLB bill suggests that congressional leaders are working to make the already flawed program worse. As is well known, No Child Left Behind's problems are myriad. The law dramatically increased federal authority in education, eroding state and local control and imposing a heavy bureaucratic burden on school systems across the country. Its high-stakes testing requirements created a strong incentive for states to engage in a "race to the bottom" by weakening standards and making tests easier to pass. And few children have benefited from NCLB's very weak school choice options. These lackluster reforms were purchased with dramatic increases in federal spending. But even the current version of No Child Left Behind is significantly better than what Congress is now discussing.
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Fred Thompson Criticizes No Child Left Behind
EXCERPT from Associated Press
Thursday, September 13, 2007 
 
"Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Thursday that President Bush's signature education program isn't working and that he would provide federal education money with fewer strings attached. 'We've been spending increasing amounts of federal money for decades, with increasing rules, increasing mandates, increasing regulations,' Thompson said. 'It's not working.' ... He said his message to states would be, 'We expect you to get objective testing done and publicize those tests for the local parents and for the local citizens and suffer the political ramifications locally if things don't work out right.' ... decisions on how schools are run should be made by local and state decisions, not dictated out of Washington."
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Mitt Romney on No Child Left Behind
Republican Presidential Debate
May 15, 2007
"I see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference. So I supported No Child Left Behind. I still do. I support the president in that regard, and that's where I stand.
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Mike Huckabee on No Child Left Behind
EXCERPT from speech to the National Education Association, August, 2007:
"We know that students learn in a variety of ways, and NCLB must recognize multiple measures, including portfolios, oral presentations, experiential demonstrations, and other methods of demonstrating competence."
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Hillary Clinton on No Child Left Behind
EXCERPT from speech to the National Education Association, August, 2007:
"Not only has it been funded at less than has been promised, its been administered with a heavy and arbitrary hand.
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Barack Obama
EXCERPT from the Obama website:
"The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is the right one - ensuring that all children can meet high standards - but the law has significant flaws that need to be addressed. Unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Department of Education, and shortcomings in the design of law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support among many people who care deeply about our schools and our students. Barack Obama would reform and fund No Child Left Behind." [Emphasis added.]



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