The teachers’ union lawsuit against No Child Left Behind charges improving student performance is an unfunded mandate.
Robert F. Kennedy would roll over in his grave if he knew how the teachers’ union is trying to block accountability for educating poor and minority students, writes Jenny D.
Even the New York Times rejects the anti-NCLB campaign.
The N.E.A. has misrepresented the law to the public from the start, and the primary aim of its suit is to throw out the baby with the bath water. The union doesn’t want a better No Child Left Behind Act; it wants to make the law disappear entirely.
States fighting NCLB have the largest achievement gaps between white and minority students, the Times points out.
The No Child Left Behind law has been a success on many levels – particularly in reorienting the thinking of the school districts that used to average out success by letting the stellar achievements of middle-class students wipe out the failures on the bottom. But it will take years, and far more work and money, before the public sees the kind of improvement it has a right to expect. Right now, everyone who cares about quality education for all children should be working to make that happen, not to dismantle what has already been done.
Eduwonk predicts the suit will backfire by giving Republicans a chance to point out that they’ve raised federal education funding by 40 percent or more than $8 billion to fund NCLB. Check out the link from the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, which attacks the NEA for ignoring state and local governments’ obligation to educate low-income children. It’s not like the feds are supposed to pay for the whole thing.
NCLB funding easily pays for the additional costs of testing. The lawsuit implies that educating poor and minority children is a new cost mandated by NCLB, not the ordinary business of the public schools.