Bipartisanship left behind

If Democrats take power, what will happen to education reforms based on standards and testing? Gadfly’s Checker Finn sees troubling signs:

An Associated Press story says Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick would keep the Bay State’s well-regarded MCAS tests but de-emphasize their results in favor of educating the “whole child.”

The implication in four state races where candidates are running against testing “is that mean Republicans have imposed punitive tests on innocent kids and teachers and kindly Democrats will ease this burden, if voters will just give them the opportunity.”

NCLB was a bipartisan bill. If the Democrats bail at the state level, educators, parents and students will decide it’s just a passing fad, Finn writes.

Both parties will revert to type, with Democrats tending to lavish goodies on the teacher unions and Republicans pressing for vouchers — and each doing its best to stymie the other.

Progress will slow or stop.

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  1. However, so long as the NAEP exists, there will be a spur for states to try to assess and improve student achievement.

  2. Inasmuch as the NAEP’s existence predates NCLB with precious little in the way of assessing and improving on the part of the states it’s much more likely that if NCLB weren’t reauthorized the states would slump gratefully back into their previous, comfortable ignorance of the sorry state of the state’s education.

    Of course, NCLB isn’t the only thing that may cause heart-burn to the edu-mob….

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    I agree with Allen’s comment. NCLB may require significant modification to be of much value, but requiring the states to test and release test data has been worth the money. Of course, any candidate campaigning against NCLB most likely has accepted a lot of money from teachers’ unions.