Over at National Review Online, IWF’s Carrie Lukas looks at how education policy will play into the 2008 presidential elections. One way for candidates to stand out and gain increased support is to abandon the big-government push in education policy that we’ve seen in recent years in policies such as No Child Left Behind:
“No Child Left Behind is the essence of ‘big government’ conservatism. The law created national rules for state-level testing and gave Congress and the Department of Education greater power to regulate local public schools and to mandate school reforms. It also upped federal spending on education programs by 26 percent. The purpose of the legislation was to use the carrot of federal funding to force schools to embrace the high stakes testing policies that President Bush had watched succeed in Texas.
“But after five years, it’s increasingly clear that this big government approach to reforming American education hasn’t worked. Researchers have found that No Child Left Behind’s high stakes testing requirements are encouraging states to lower standards and make tests easier to pass. Many states and local school districts have resisted implementing No Child Left Behind’s modest school choice provisions that were supposed to help students stuck in persistently failing schools. School officials complain about the paperwork and red tape associated with complying with No Child Left Behind, which are costly and distract from the business of educating children.”
Read the whole article here.