Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Porky Bureaucrat Left Behind

Did you know that it is Education Month in the Obama White House? Neither did we. But apparently it is, and accordingly the President crossed the Potomac yesterday to visit an elementary school in Arlington, Virginia, where he pushed for reauthorization of the unpopular No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program. It was a classic President Obama performance. First he denounced the “stale debates” over whether education needed “more money” or “more reform.” Then—surprise—he said what the country really needed was both: “We need more resources for the schools, but we’ve got to reorganize how our schools are doing business in order to assure success for our young people. … Let’s seize this education moment. Let’s fix No Child Left Behind.” No, let’s not.

NCLB is actually the eighth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Passed as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, this first federal intervention into what was originally a state responsibility included just five titles in 32 pages. The effect of the ESEA was felt quickly across the country—but not by the nation’s school children: after passage of ESEA, state education bureaucracies doubled in just five years. Now NCLB spans more the 50 programs, 10 titles, and 600 pages. The bureaucrats are winning.

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