Everyone blames the concept for "No Child Left Behind" on former President George W. Bush. Hold on! Not so fast! Check out the parts I highlighted in red text.
Rename Law? No Wisecrack Is Left Behind
Rename Law? No Wisecrack Is Left Behind
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, an effort to fix No Child Left Behind, the main federal law on public schools, provoked a grueling slugfest in Congress, leading Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, to say the law had become “the most negative brand in America.” Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. “Let’s rebrand it,” he said in an interview. “Give it a new name.”
And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals.
The civil rights leader Marian Wright Edelman took the high road, suggesting it be called the Quality Education for All Children Act. But a lot of wise guys have gotten in on the act too, with suggestions like the All American Children Are Above Average Act. Alternatives are popping up every day on the Eduwonk.com blog, where Andrew Rotherham, a former Clinton administration official, is sponsoring a rename-the-law contest.
One entry, alluding to the bank bailout program, suggests that it be called the Mental Asset Recovery Plan. Another proposal: the Act to Help Children Read Gooder.
Part of the problem is that the law, which comes up for reauthorization every five years, became closely associated with President George W. Bush, and as his popularity slid, the law, and its name, came under attack and ridicule.
Jay Leno, for instance, pointed out in 2006 that Mr. Bush’s approval rating had dropped to 35 percent. “You know Bush’s No Child Left Behind program?” Mr. Leno said. “Now even the children left behind are going, ‘You go ahead, we’re fine.’ ”
The law dates to 1965, when Congress passed it to channel federal money to poor children in the war on poverty, calling it the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
By the early 1990s, a school accountability movement was gaining momentum. In the 1994 reauthorization, the Clinton administration required states to develop new math and reading standards, use more tests, and adopt a benchmark for school improvement known as “adequate yearly progress.” And it gave the law a new name: the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994.
Most people clung to the original name, however, until Mr. Bush signed No Child Left Behind.
The phrase appears to be borrowed from Ms. Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, who throughout the 1990s seasoned speeches with the phrase “leave no child behind.” In 1994, the organization registered “Leave No Child Behind” as a trademark.
But as early as the mid-1990s, Mr. Bush, then the Texas governor, was routinely using similar phrases.
In 2000, the organization reminded the Bush campaign about its trademark, but those complaints were brushed aside. After Mr. Bush’s inauguration as president, he sent Congress a thick packet of education proposals to guide the law’s 2001 rewriting, titled No Child Left Behind.
Sandy Kress, a Texas lawyer who helped compile those proposals, said the phrase nicely summarized the president’s views, especially his provision requiring that authorities publish test scores for all minority groups, shining a spotlight on the low scores of poor students previously hidden by schoolwide averages.
Just about everyone praised that feature of the Bush-era law. But other provisions aroused opposition, including the requirement that every child be brought to proficiency in reading and math by 2014, which many educators said was like requiring law enforcement agencies to end all crime.
Nicknames for the law proliferated: No Child Left Untested, No Child’s Behind Left, No School Board Left Standing.
So ... it's all blamed on President Bush, but it was originally put through by the Democrats ... once again ... they do something and blame Republicans for it.