No Child Left Behind?
"No Child Left Behind," the Bush administration's woefully under funded plan to raise the academic achievement of all students, is flawed in so many ways that one must question the motivation of those who designed and passed this legislation.
While nearly every American desires a quality education for our children and accountability on the part of our public school system, "NCLB" appears to be designed instead as a means to dismantle our public school system.
"NCLB" emphasizes a narrow curriculum and wrongly assumes that all students are academically equal. It fails to account for the social causes of poor academic performance, including substandard housing, unemployment among caregivers, and lack of medical care for preschoolers.
The ultimate flaw of "NCLB," though, is this: it demands that every student in the nation score substantially better than the average student by 2014.
I received a bachelor's degree in mathematics before I went to medical school, but one only needs a sixth grade education to understand that, by definition, not every score can be above average (except in Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegon," which is fiction written tongue-in-cheek!) The federal government has designed a program which guarantees that schools will fail, paving the way for those advocating the public funding of private institutions.
In spite of all this, my opponent, Tim Johnson, voted for "No Child Left Behind." Now, though, in a move that smacks of his typical political expediency, he expresses a desire to fix the flaws of this foolish legislation. I think we deserve much better than Tim Johnson. We should have a Congressman who does the right thing the first time, a Congressman beholden only to the ordinary citizens of Illinois' 15th District. I will be just such a Congressman.