Sunday, October 19, 2008

Washington Monthly on the Federal Role in Education

A good, quick read by Nicholas Lemann in Washington Monthly on where NCLB could go and why we need national academic standards instead of the state-by-state piecemeal we have now. The take-home paragraph:

As it took Richard Nixon to open diplomatic relations with China, it took George W. Bush to make the federal government a real presence in every public school. Now that the government is there, it should use its leverage mainly to create meaningful standards and a national curriculum. Right now it uses its leverage mainly to require tests. To change that, and to fulfill what Congress in 2001 took to be the promise of No Child Left Behind, would be a presidential achievement commensurate with civil rights, Medicare, and Social Security. Let’s hope the next president sees it that way.
All that said, education is very likely to be far down the list of priorities given the financial dire straits we're in.

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