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NCLB's Biggest Basher Dropping Out

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The only sitting governor in the presidential race—and the campaign's loudest NCLB naysayer—is calling it quits. Though New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson hasn't made it official, every media outlet in town is reporting it. (Update: He just made it official, a little before 3:30 p.m. today).

This means Gov. Richardson, a Democrat, can stop thinking up more verbs he can use to describe what he wants to do with NCLB. "Scrap it", "junk it", "get rid of it", "throw it out", and the list goes on...While that may have resonated with the education community fed up with all of the testing and accountability, Richardson never said what he would replace NCLB with.

The leading Democrats left in the race have slightly more moderate approaches to No Child Left Behind (although former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who supports better testing and broader measures of student learning gains, has said that it may be necessary to ditch it.) New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has called it a great promise that's resulted in an unfunded mandate. And Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wants to improve assessments and provide more resources to low-performing schools.

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Thank you for your useful reports. One comment: Are other candidates' views of NCLB more moderate than Richardson's? In one important sense, Richardson is the most moderate, the most conservative, because his view is the most consistent with the facts: Test scores (NAEP, PIRLS) show that NCLB has not helped children in reading, in fact it has hurt - no improvement despite lots of extra time and money. And the Dept of Education has been accused of serious conflict of interest with Reading First money. The moderate/conservative position, in light of these facts, is that NCLB should be dumped. Asking for increased funding, in fact, is a radical view in that it rewards failure and possible corruption.
PS: Whatever happened to the accusations of conflict of interest? Everybody seems to have lost interest.

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