Friday, September 23, 2011

Obama: States Can Opt Out of NCLB

So because our bickering, non-functional congress cannot agree on a way to make the No Child Left Behind law, a federal disaster if there ever was one, work for us and not against us, President Obama today signed an executive order that allows states to opt out of some provisions of this very bad law championed by George W. Bush, and modeled on a similar law passed in Texas while Bush was the state’s governor.

What makes NCLB a bad law you ask? NCLB assigns such horrible punishment to schools who fail to educate their students that states have lowered their educational standards in order to prevent these punishments from happening. The result? An entire generation of poorly-educated children.

States can now apply for a waiver from these provisions, but there is one condition: states who get approval must adopt stricter educational standards, must raise the bar, as it were.

This is very welcome news, but I wonder whether Texas will be in and among the states to get in line to file a waiver. Because Texas is the birthplace of NCLB and NCLB is the brainchild of a former Texas governor and his wife. Filing for a waiver is tantamount to admitting that the law is wrong, and I don’t think our Republican-dominated government is willing to admit making such a catastrophic mistake like that.

Besides, NCLB really is a veiled attempt to achieve a voucher system in Texas, ending public education as we know it.

So I am going to be very surprised, pleasantly surprised though, if Texas files an application for a waiver. The result? Texas will put itself on the path of delivering a second-hand education while the rest of the states retool and deliver a first class education to their school children once more. Ten years from now we should see noticeable differences, especially as Texas becomes a state where the minimum wage is the rule rather than the exception.

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