A Critique of the Bush Education Proposal
Victoria J. Dodd
Suffolk University Law School
Administrative Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 861, 2001
Will No Child Left Behind Be Left Behind?
Congress has been arguing about the future direction of the No Child Left Behind Act, which had been slated for reauthorization this year. Although significant changes in the Act now seem unlikely until 2008, many of the Act's flaws were apparent at the time of the Act's birth in 2001. This Article describes some of the problems of the Act that were apparent in 2001, and argues as well that other, additional educational solutions are needed to create the world-class educational system promised by the No Child Left Behind Act.
In general, the No Child Left Behind Act requires annual testing in math and reading for all children in grades three through eight in public schools. The law was passed pursuant to the spending power: if a state wants to receive federal aid to education under Title I, it must agree to the testing conditions.
An early criticism of the testing scheme was that allowing each state to create its own set of tests would make it difficult to make interstate comparisons. In addition, the penalty provisions of the law were considered too draconian. If schools fail to make adequate yearly progress, students can transfer to other public schools and schools can even ultimately be made to reorganize as charter schools or be taken over by the state. Most of the foregoing criticisms of the law discussed in the Article have been validated by time, and more than thirty bills have been introduced in Congress to amend the Act's many shortcomings.
The concluding sections of the Article argue that the Supreme Court should recognize a fundamental right to an adequate public education, overruling the 1973 case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez. This would form a strong constitutional foundation for educational developments at the state level, where reformers are far more interested in actual education adequacy rather than the mere implementation of superficial testing regimes such as No Child Left Behind Act.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 20, 2007
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