Tuesday, September 16, 2003

No tax cut left behind

An interesting article in the Washington Post today
about the No Child Left Behind legislation. School officials are quoted saying the program's goals of 100 percent student proficiency on standardized tests are unrealistic. I have to sympathize with Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) who notes that setting a goal any lower than 100 percent sends a message that is OK to let some students fall overboard.

But it is not the goals of the program that are the real problem here. The No Child Left Behind Law was a bi-partisan effort that combined George W.'s insistence on standardized testing with Sen. Kennedy's push for more education funding. But guess which side is getting the short shrift.

Critics of the law, such as George Mason University educational psychologist Gerald W. Bracey, are less hard on its goals than on what they say is a severe lack of money. For the 2004 fiscal year, congressional Democrats want the $32 billion initially authorized for No Child Left Behind, rather than the $22.6 billion Bush has requested.

"If you want to try to get poor kids to high proficiency, you take the JFK man-on-the-moon-in-a-decade approach and fund the program adequately," Bracey said. "To succeed, this task needs an $87 billion supplemental appropriation more than the rebuilding of Iraq needs an $87 billion supplemental appropriation."

If we funded our public education system the same way we fund our military programs we would have the strongest education system in the world to match our strongest military in the world.

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