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NCLB Remains Candidates' Punching Bag

NCLB isn't playing well in the early primary states.

Yesterday, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., said the law is the product people "inside the Beltway in Washington" who believe "they know everything."

"Well, I got news for them: There's a lot of good, smart common sense out here in the real world," he said in Bow, N.H., town meeting where he played up his credentials as a trial lawyer who fought against big corporations.

"That crowd who thinks they know everything, those are the ones who said No Child Left Behind was going to be a wonderful, great panacea," he said, according to this Associated Press report in the Manchester Union-Leader.

(However, he did not explain why he voted for the law as a senator working at the epicenter of Washington.)

On Sunday in Keene, N.H., Mitt Romney said he liked NCLB's requirement that students be assessed every year. When he was Massachusetts' governor, the states saw gains students' achievement when it required high school students to pass exit exams.

The Republican is about the only major candidate to defend the law, The Washington Post notes in this blog post (which my colleague Michele McNeil wrote about on the Campaign K-12 blog). The Post's account noted that Romney didn't get much applause for his defense of NCLB.

P.S. For complete summary of where all candidates stand on K-12 issues, see this handy guide on edweek.org. We'll be updating this feature as candidates revise or elaborate on to their education proposals.

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