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Bush Sees 'Growing Consensus' for NCLB Accountability

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President George Bush gave the last policy speech of his presidency today. The topic was the same as his first such speech: NCLB.

In it, he repeated many arguments for the law, that it: requires schools to ensure the achievement of all students is rising, provides parents with information they need about their childrens' achievement, and has resulted in better test scores.

But near the end, he talked about the "growing consensus" to keep the law's hard line on accountability.

There is a growing consensus across the country that now is not the time to water down standards or to roll back accountability. There is a growing consensus that includes leaders of the business communities across America who see an increasingly global economy and, therefore, believe in standards and accountability. There's a growing consensus amongst leaders of civil rights organizations—like La Raza, and the Urban League, and the Education Equality Project. These leaders refuse to accept what I have called the soft bigotry of low expectations. There's a growing consensus—includes a lot of parents, and superintendents, and mayors, and governors who insist that we put our children first.

Is there really a growing consensus? All of the groups that Bush mentions have been supporters of NCLB for a long time. Meanwhile, the usual suspects have issued statements (see FairTest's and NEA's) showing they don't agree with the law's accountability methods and want to see changes.

It looks as if the debate over accountability in federal policy is going to begin anew.

1 Comment

Who wants the accountability and what specific accountability?

If the accountability is for the kids who have traditionally been left behind by curricula that caters to kids with more advantageous demographic circumstances then who are the advocates?

Kids who get left behind - if they already had parental advocates - they would not have been left behind - by definition.

For myself, I have no kids, but I pay taxes, a LOT of taxes - on the PREMISE - that all kids should get a quality education so that they can grow up and become contributing members of society rather than wards of the state - economically or in prison.

For myself, it is UNACCEPTABLE, that we leave kids behind because they have no parental (or other) advocates.

In other words, the advocates are those like myself who want schools to be effective at their mission - for ALL KIDs, not just those who have advocates.

I am not a "choice" guy either, unless "choice" schools are held strictly accountable to the same exact standards of public schools.

"Choice" should not be a back-door way of abandoning the public responsibility of quality education for every kid.

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