President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law has changed the debate on education, writes George Will.
Today the argument is about standards — how to measure and meet them — and how much autonomy schools should have in doing so. That is progress that will not be easily reversed, partly because it is popular with a constituency, the inner-city poor, that Democrats often abuse in order to mollify a rival constituency, the teachers unions.
NCLB is starting to cause a lot of pain and shame. Focusing on the achievement of poor and minority subgroups highlights problems that are very difficult for schools to solve. I think progress could be reversed if a new administration waffles on enforcement.