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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Saturday, January 3, 2004

An interesting contrast.

In his weekly radio address, Dubya told US listeners that his 'No Child Left Behind' education law has been a big success. The prez made a special point of mentioning how test scores have improved in some elementary school grades.

Dubya's education law was enacted in January 2002, and was modeled after education reforms made in Texas during his tenure as that state's governor. (Many consider those reforms to have been remarkably unsuccessful, by the way.) 'No Child Left Behind' defines educational achievement in terms of students' scores on standardized tests, and punishes schools where test scores fail to meet annual targets.

Just a few days before the speech, however, the NY Times reported on the growing opposition to 'No Child Left Behind' among school districts, state legislatures, and some Republican officeholders.

In recent weeks, however, three Connecticut school districts have rejected federal money rather than comply with the red tape that accompanies the law, and several Vermont districts have shifted federal poverty money away from schools to shield them from sanctions.

Republican lawmakers from the National Council of State Legislatures, who consider the law a violation of states' rights, took their complaints to the White House in November, where they got a chilly reception.

Now, several say they will press their case in their home states. A Republican legislator has introduced a bill that would prohibit Utah authorities from complying with the law or accepting the $100 million it would bring the state. Half a dozen other state legislatures have voted to study similar action.

Some analysts see the scattered actions as the front end of a backlash that will probably swell this year, when early penalties are likely to be imposed on thousands of schools across the nation.

"The signs all show that as the law takes effect at the local level it is going to cause a reaction," said Jack Jennings, director of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy, who is overseeing a nationwide study of how the law affects school districts. "This is not a crisis; these are just early flares of resistance. But next year the reaction could be sharper."

| | Posted by Magpie at 1:27 PM | Get permalink




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