15 March 2007

Sen. Cornyn on NCLB

As No Child Left Behind comes up for renewal, it was good to read a column by Texas Senator Cornyn calling for reforms within the bill. Surprisingly for someone in Washington, Cornyn’s drive to change NCLB would give more discretion to states as far as how federal funding is spent and remove layers of bureaucratic red tape at the federal level.

It is, in my opinion, a move in the right direction. States are at least one level closer to the issues affecting local classroom and can therefore recognize and understand local circumstances better than federal agencies. Educational challenges in Texas are not the same as those in, say, North Dakota. Allowing state legislatures and school boards deal with state and local problems only makes sense.

If the federal government wants to tie some sort of condition to federal funding (which to my understanding, NCLB already does), that’s perfectly understandable. However, dictating to states how they spend federal funding is a misguided effort in micromanagement. It would be more appropriate for feds to limit their intrusiveness to ensuring that funds spent to meet some clearly states goal.

If Cornyn’s initiative passes then it will move more control of education closer to where it belongs – at the local level. I only wish that he would not have attached a cheesy acronym to the bill, which is called Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS).

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