Monday, January 5, 2004

The Dickens You Say

According to the AP, Bush is planning to defend his 2001 education reform act known as No Child Left Behind (or NCLB, known in the ed business as “Nickelby.”)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is defending his “No Child Left Behind” initiative against Democrats who, in fighting for a political advantage on the education issue, argue that the law is too rigid and is being shortchanged by the administration.


“We agree with the whole idea of standards and accountability, but it isn’t being funded the way everybody thought it would be,” Sandra Feldman, president of the American Federation of Teachers, a union representing more than 1 million teachers, said in a telephone interview Sunday. “An increase that is billions short of what you need to carry out the mandates just doesn’t do it.”

In fiscal years 2002 through the current 2004, Congress authorized between $26.4 billion and $32 billion to be spent on the “No Child Left Behind” initiative. While Bush’s budget request rose in each of those years, it still fell far short of the authorization.

And here I thought the Republicans were so adamantly opposed to unfunded mandates. So now the states will be stuck with paying for it, and they can’t even keep the roofs on the schools from leaking.

Critics also say that the way the “No Child Left Behind” federal grading system works isn’t fair in some cases because it requires yearly progress not just from a school but from every subgroup of students, including those with disabilities or ones who speak English as a second language.

Here in South Florida, ESL students are not only widespread, in some schools they’re the majority of the population.

But I’ll bet the schools in Iraq are really going to be great.