“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.”
Interestingly, a liberal columnist today debunks one of the key Democratic policy prescriptions about education: pour more money into failing schools. Richard Cohen writes:
“The litany of more and more when it comes to money often has little to do with what, in the military, are called facts on the ground: kids and parents. It does have a lot to do with teachers unions, which are strong supporters of the Democratic Party. Not a single candidate offered anything close to a call for real reform. Instead, a member of the audience could reasonably conclude that if only more money were allocated to these woe-is-me school systems, things would right themselves overnight.”