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Clinton on Differentiated Consequences


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., yesterday released a statement that amounted to a back-handed compliment of the U.S. Department of Education's plan to allow up to 10 states to use "differentiated consequences" in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act.

"While a small pilot, this is a long overdue step in the right direction. By allowing states to differentiate between schools that need modest improvements and those that are chronically failing, this pilot will provide some much-needed flexibility," Clinton said in the March 18 statement. "This step, however, should be just the beginning. No Child Left Behind is a failed policy that needs fundamental overhaul - not tinkering around the edges."

There's broad support in Congress for differentiated consequnces, which would permit districts and states to use seperate sets of sanctions for schools that missed the law's achievement targets for most of their students, as opposed to those that failed to make progress with one or two subgroups, such as students in special education. Clinton's support of the proposal isn't a surprise.

What's more intriguing is that Democratic presidential candidate's statement on the pilot takes her recent anti-NCLB rhetoric up a notch. She says:

"As president, I will work with Congress to end the No Child Left Behind Act, and put in its place a more sensible law that stops micromanaging our schools from the federal level and provides real support to struggling schools."

But it's still unclear just how Clinton (or the other presidential candidates) would revamp the law. Would we still have an NCLB-like federally driven accountability system, just with a different name? NCLB is a reauthorization of the decades-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I find it difficult to imagine that any president would completely scrap that law.

Still, if nothing else, the statement shows that Clinton (or someone in her campaign) is paying attention to the implementation of NCLB. That's probably a good political move, given that the National Education Association's endorsement is still up for grabs.


For those who favor school choice, now is a most opportune time for universal school choice. You can call Sen. John McCain (202-224-3121), an outspoken advocate of parental choice in education, and ask him to sponsor the Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This will require states to provide equitable educational funding for children in public and non-public schools, while respecting the liberty of schools in hiring and provision of services.

I have personally have always thought of the NCLB Act as a good "idea." Unfortunatly, there are always a countless number of children each year who are not meeting the potential requirements to not be left behind. I agree with Senator Clinton about implimenting a new law, but it needs to be one that will work and is beneficial to not only the schools but most importantly to the students. I am curious as to see what kind of action the soon to be president will take in order to devise and impliment a solid and efficient plan for these students.

I believe that the NCLB Act is a good one especially because under this Act all students are supposed to get the right education to help them succeed. I don't agree with the congress and the president getting rid of the NCLB Act or implementing a new law, because then not every student would be successful in their education.

I would have to say that I think that the NCLB Act is a pretty good Act. I agree with most of it, and I am, or was, one of those students that had trouble in class. I almost didn't make the grade and yes I was almost in trouble of re-doing my school years. I think that all kids learn at a different level. Everyone is good at something, but maybe at different levels of learning. The NCLB Act should stay and implementing a new law wouldn't really change anything. If there is a way to do something different and more effectively then I am curious to see what the candidates come up with.

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I'm all for the NCLB Act. Our children's education is the key to a peaceful future.


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