Campaigning Against NCLB
With the primaries in full swing, the leading presidential candidates are straining to show their differences from one another. But according to the Palm Beach Post, there's at least one thing they all seem to agree onnamely, that the nation's main education law "needs some work." All of the candidates want to change NCLB in some way, though in widely varying degrees. Proposals range from scraping the law altogether (Bill Richardson), to radically overhauling it (John Edwards), to improving funding (Barack Obama), to stressing school improvement rather than universal proficiency goals (Hillary Clinton), to giving some states added fexibility (Mitt Romney), to providing more options for school choice (Rudy Giuliani).
Some observers believe that the candidates are reacting to widespread public discontent with NCLB. "They're accurately responding to what they're hearing from their constituents," says Bob Schaeffer, public education director for Fair-Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a group that is critical of standardized testing. "For a candidate to get out campaigning and claim NCLB is working is to risk rejection from potential voters who know otherwise."