Education (May 2011)

Washington should not be making decisions about our kids’ schooling

Congress passed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2001 to address the growing evidence that many children in America were not receiving quality instruction. The goal of this law was to improve the transparency of how our schools were performing, so that no student was overlooked under broad labels of “good” and “bad” schools. One of the lasting, positive legacies of NCLB is the recognition that the performance of every student counts. Although NCLB exposed shortcomings in many schools, the fixes it prescribed, such as Adequate Yearly Progress, were implemented with very little flexibility and did not recognize the varying levels of successes and challenges our nation’s 95,000 schools might have. We now have proof that centralizing this planning at the federal level does not work. Schools in New York City look very different than schools in my home state of Wyoming. They require very different resources, improvement strategies and measures of success.

Focus on cutting red tape, hiring skilled teachers

I can’t say so for sure, but I bet if a rally were held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, or frankly anywhere, to defend the status quo on education, nobody would show up.