Leaving NCLB Behind

From Holden:

State legislators pan one of Chimpy’s favorite “achievements”.

Concluding a yearlong study on the effectiveness of President Bush’s sweeping education law, No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers drawn from many states yesterday pronounced it a flawed, convoluted and unconstitutional education reform initiative that had usurped state and local control of public schools.


The National Conference, which has criticized the federal law in the past, represents the nation’s 50 state legislatures, with a membership that includes 3,657 Republicans and 3,656 Democrats, as well as a few dozen elected from smaller parties, as independents or without any party affiliation.


One chapter of the report says that the Constitution does not delegate powers to educate the nation’s citizens to the federal government, thereby leaving education under state control. The report contends that No Child Left Behind has greatly expanded federal powers to a degree that is unconstitutional..

“This assertion of federal authority into an area historically reserved to the states has had the effect of curtailing additional state innovations and undermining many that had occurred during the past three decades,” the report said.

“The task force does not believe that N.C.L.B. is constitutional,” it said.


The report also examined what the task force called conflicts between the federal law and the disabilities act. Under No Child Left Behind, a disabled eighth grader whom educators deem to be working at a sixth grade level must take examinations for eighth graders. The report said the requirement contradicted provisions in the disabilities act requiring school authorities to devise a unique program suited to the needs and abilities of each disabled child.

“N.C.L.B. requires students with disabilities to be tested by grade level, while IDEA mandates that students be taught according to ability,” the report said.