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State Legislators Tell Feds: Back Off on School Policy

Remember five years ago when the National Conference of State Legislatures issued a report on the No Child Left Behind Act that assailed the law and the federal government's intrusion into K-12 policy? That report caught such fire that it shut down the NCSL's Web site the day it was released.

Well the group is back today with a new report that mostly makes the same case: Washington needs to back off when it comes to making policy for public schools. Like No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration's education reform policies, especially the $4 billion Race to the Top program, are turning out to be as prescriptive and wrongheaded as George W. Bush's were, the legislators argue.

I'm cranking out a full story on this for later, but I'll share one zinger quote on the Race to the Top competition from Stephen M. Saland, a Republican senator from New York who co-chaired the NCSL task force that wrote the report.

"States are cash-strapped, so for them, it's like standing in a soup-kitchen line desperate for sustenance," Mr. Saland said. Participating in Race to the Top, he said, is likely an "act of desperation" for many states.

UPDATE: Here's my story on edweek.org now.

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