Clueless in the Congress: The Reauthorization of a Reckless Bill

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act are up for reauthorization again.  This process typically entails legislators tweaking the bill—a caveat here, a zinger there.  Almost always, it translates into more money.

Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) of the Committee on Education and Labor recently released a “discussion draft” of NCLB.  They probably meant well, but it is clear, from the Title I portion alone, that the acts remain mired in nonacademic pursuits, far removed from proficiency in the basics.  (Where is there a place for information relating to real learning capabilities—visual and auditory memory, visual identification, spatial and abstract reasoning, concentration, perceptual speed, hand-eye coordination, and thought-expression synchronization?)  Pages 307-317 confirm that a primary goal of the legislation is to build a permanent profile of every student and teacher, and to make these accessible on a need-to-know basis to any entity that calls itself a research or civil-rights group.  While there is a refreshing nod to parents (they get to view materials) and language concerning security from unauthorized parties (including a requirement to destroy files after a prescribed period), none of these stipulations carry viable penalties for noncompliance.  In fact, most of them are not...

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