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Alternative Candidates Offer Chance to Vote Against NCLB


From guest blogger David Hoff:

If you're determined to vote for a presidential candidate who opposes the No Child Left Behind Act, you have options.

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are saying that they would keep much of the law's architecture of standards, testing, and accountability. (For more on that, see my story in this week's issue of Education Week and FairTest's overview of where the candidates stand on NCLB.)

But there are three candidates for president who oppose the law: Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader. All three want to repeal it.

Here's a sampling of their views:

Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent, says "federal policy needs to be transformed from one that uses punishments to control schools, to one that supports teachers and students; from one that relies primarily on standardized tests, to one that encourages high-quality assessments. Broader measures of student learning are needed that include reliance of classroom-based assessments along with testing."

Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate, writes: "Turning education over to the federal government, as through such legislation as the No Child Left Behind Act has not worked. Trying to fix failing schools with more money and regulations also has failed to do anything other than waste taxpayer money without results." He proposes ending the federal government's role in education and turning decisions back to state and local governments.

The Green Party, which has nominated Cynthia McKinney to be its candidate, writes in its draft platform that "the federal Act titled No Child Left Behind punishes where it should assist and hinders its own declared purpose. It should be repealed or greatly redesigned." The federal government's roles should be limited to ensuring students across states have a "level playing field," the platform says.

McKinney, a former Democrat, and Barr, a former Republican, don't mention relevant details from their experiences representing different Georgia districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Back in 2001, both voted for NCLB twice, once when the House passed its bill and again when the House approved the House-Senate compromise sent to President Bush.


I thought Cynthia McKinney was forced to resign after threatening people who made her follow airport rules or something. She would probably not be eligible to run if anyone had charged her with assault like they would anyone else. I cannot believe she is considered a real alternative.

Education plays a key role in man’s life. It is a vital ingredient in the success of a nation. But with economic problem we are facing now, the Obama Administration, as we see it these days, it is not in the top priority list. We need an educational policy that will encourage the students to critical thinking and embrace science and arts and creativity. As Americans emerge from the afterglow of the recent presidential elections and president-elect Obama prepares to take the reins of the country, education is a topic on the minds of many. What will he do to improve the lot of students and teachers in America? According to an article at The Apple, Obama’s first order of business when it comes to education will be to look at No Child Left Behind. He doesn’t want to scrap the program, but he does want to reform it, particularly when it comes to standardize testing. He is against preparing students all year to “fill in bubbles.” Referencing schools, both Obama and vice president-elect Biden support charter schools, so long as they perform up to standard. Teachers at charter schools and beyond will find Obama incentives like Teacher Service Scholarships and various pay rewards to be a great help. In addition, boosting Early Head Start programs and providing tax credits (which Obama calls the “American Opportunity” credit) for college education are at the forefront of the president-elect’s plan. Repairing faith in the American educational system via these ideas and more will surely lead to the kind of credit repair the country needs – where the currency is a dynamic workforce that is prepared to lead America into the future. Click to learn more about Credit Repair.

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