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The Perils Of Being Against NCLB


Love him or hate him, Rush Limbaugh's got an infuriatingly good way with rhetoric, as illustrated by his riff on the idea of rolling back NCLB:

portraits.Par.0030.PortraitImageFile.gif"So they're out there lobbying Congress to reduce this 100% target and delay the 2014 deadline," according to Rush Limbaugh ( Democrats Demand We Leave Some Kids Behind). "I'll make a deal with them. I'll be glad to make a deal. I'll say, "Fair enough. So we can stop with this 100% healthcare coverage, then, for every child in America?...Well, let's eliminate the whole goal of 100% elimination of poverty. And how about this? Let's eliminate this whole notion of a hundred percent carbon neutral footprints. You guys want to play a game, I'll be glad to."


I disagree with Rush's purported 'way with words'. In this instance his rhetoric is sophomoric at best. Comparing the elimination of poverty (which to date has no legally-bound time frame)to ensuring that all children are 100% proficient by 2014 is a false analogy and should be treated as such.

And who says there is a game to be played? Rush talks like he is in charge of something or someone. He may share the view of millions... but there is no need to play with him in order to correct all that ills this poorly thought-out piece of legislation.

What does Rush know about education and the NCLB? I will tell you - NOTHING. Does he know about how the NCLB is destroying good schools and making many teachers leave the profession? This poorly thought out legislation should be thrown in the garbage can asap.

We can do better than this... How about wiping away all the wasteful state standards? Create one high-achieving national standard for ALL subjects, not just English, Math, and Science. It is time for this IMO. How can you expect the United States to regain the number 1 spot in education when you have 50 different ways of doing something, especially with mediocre achievement levels? This is a waste of valuable resources, and we all know how scarce education dollars are.

As defined by grades, Rush was a horrible student. He doesn't have a college degree. And yet, he is wildly successful in a professional sense.

I have a hunch that Rush knows that standards and the federal centralization of schools won't produce better, more educated human beings. Rather, he is looking at the big picture. He knows that NCLB can NEVER work in that it treats all kids the same and focuses on the wrong things. Eventually, parents will become so disgusted, they'll demand total school choice. This is the real reason, in my opinion, that Rush opposes changes to NCLB. Who knew someone who did so poorly in school could be so brilliant?

It's too bad that EdWeek does not understand the NCLB legislation. By 2014 100% of all students must be above the norm on based on norm-reference tests.

This means that all children must be above the norm - a mathematical impossibility.

Promoting this fuzzy arithmetic is a cruel joke at best and at worst, a cynical political stunt designed to demonize public education until the citizenry withdraws its support.

Gary, that's criterion referenced-tests, not norm-referenced tests. Think drivers exam- it is possible for all to pass. Success doesn't depend on how many others have or have not been successful.

I am already seeing the effects of NCLB in my children's education. My son who is behind despite extra help at home and in the classroom is dealing with self-esteem issues---the teachers seem to be gearing their teaching to the test--instead of personalizing their teaching techniques---they are required to do guided reading--why can't a special education teacher implement a different type of reading program if guided reading isn't working?

Rather sad, actually. Once upon a time, any conservative commentator worthy of the name would not only see NCLB as an unconscionable governmental intrusion on states' rights and individual liberty, but would feel the same way about the mere existance of a federal department of education. The ultimate principle, you see, would matter, not some potential outcome that might be compatible with lesser principles.

To compare the need to have all students proficient by 2014 to ending poverty is a really lame, false dichotomy, which many neoconservatives are good at throwing into the fray. Why don't we legislate that doctors are required to cure 100% of their patients or that lawyers successfully defend 100% of their clients? Or come to think about it, why not legislate that by 2014 Rush must convince 100% of Americans to listen to his weakly thought through radio analysis of our social ills?

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