Bluestem understands why some policy makers favored No Child Left Behind, especially those who had hoped the law would live up to its name and help provide better opportunities for all learners, including children of color and those from low income families. Teacher accountability in the classroom is also a fine goal.
However, local control is close to my heart, in education as well as zoning, and while I top the charts on standardized tests, I'm not sure that obsessive testing helps children flourish. Thus, Dayton's application for a NCLB waiver for Minnesota is welcomed here.
This poor country blogger isn't alone in this opinion. The New Ulm Journal concludes in NCLB didn’t meet needed expectations:
. . . As we pointed out before the law was enacted, some states seemed to be doing a good job in school reform on their own, without federal meddling. Clearly, Duncan should grant those states waivers - and refrain from substituting equally unproductive new regulations for those contained in NCLB.
At the same time, school administrators and educators should be held accountable. That needs to begin at the local and state levels. There, ways of measuring school effectiveness need to be devised - and school systems need to be held accountable for reform. Replacing NCLB with different, still unhelpful, federal red tape is not the answer.
Sister papers in Austin and Albert Lea agreed that Opting out of NCLB is good:
Minnesota is wise to join many other states in seeking permission to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind law. While the intent of NCLB was good, it has become clear that imposing educational standards at the federal level is not an effective method of improving education nationwide. . . .
We believe it is possible, even likely, that Minnesota can do a better job of educating its children without the help of NCLB, as long as that task does not become mired in political arguments.
Amen to that. And though not a rural editor, Minnesota 2020's John Van Hecke also approves of the move in Discarding "No Child Left Behind," while looking at the political arguments that might mire that task. Go check out his column in the Daily Planet.
Cartoon: via Crooks and Liars.