In The News

Editorial and Op-ed Archive July 2007

July 31, 2007, News & Observer- Diluting the No Child Law.
NCLB is up for reauthorization in Congress and lawmakers, including some of the law's original drafters, are talking about modifying it so that proficiency in math and reading would not be the sole standard of school performance. As attractive as these indicators might sound, they would dilute the purpose of the law to where ultimately the standards become the usual educational mush. Expanding the number of indicators would make side-by-side comparisons of school districts difficult. Testing in only the two most critical subjects has the virtue of simplicity. Broadening the law to include more subjects, graduate rates and the school curriculum marks a significantly greater intrusion. With the exception of some minor tweaking, Congress should stick with the law as is through at least another five-year cycle.

July 30, 2007, Charleston Post and Courier-'No Child' passes progress tests.
A new study showing that students are spending more time on reading and math since the 2002 enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act is good news. So is another recently released study showing a general rise in academic performance over the last five years. The researchers also reported that since NCLB, "the achievement gap" between white and black students has decreased. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings cited the study to argue: "We know the law is working, so now is the time to reauthorize… If children can't read, they can't learn history. Before No Child Left Behind, little was done to hold schools accountable for teaching our children basic, critical skills."

July 9, 2007 – Miami Herald, “Help Hispanics do better in school, Miami Herald”
More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, the achievement gap remains one of the most pressing challenges facing our nation's education system -- a challenge that creates dire consequences not only for children of color, but for our entire nation. Fortunately, we are making progress, thanks to a renewed emphasis on looking at the performance of all students -- not just the majority -- and on holding schools accountable when certain groups of students fall behind. It's ironic that the population that would appear most difficult to ignore for its sheer numbers -- Hispanic students -- is among those most at risk of being ''left behind.'' The country's largest and youngest ethnic group, Hispanic children under 18, are the second-largest group of students after whites -- and they are the fastest-growing student population. Prior to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) Act, these students were often overlooked. Today, NCLB is holding schools accountable for improving their academic achievement. And the results are encouraging. The success of tomorrow's workforce depends on our ensuring that Hispanic children thrive in school today. For the sake of our competitiveness, as we head into the future we must ensure that this growing population is not left behind.

July 2, 2007-Washington Post,'No Child' in the Crosshairs; Congress should be talking about strengthening, not abandoning, the federal school accountability law.
NO ONE in his right mind would demolish his home because it had a leaky basement or it needed new carpeting. But that's the approach being advocated by those who find fault with the No Child Left Behind Act. The federal law is not perfect, but its architecture of educational accountability, transparency and equality is sound. With the law up for reauthorization this year, Congress should be debating how -- not whether -- to continue this landmark education initiative.

July 1, 2007-New York Daily News, “Of Race and the Schools.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on school integration contained a landmark sentence by Chief Justice John Roberts. He wrote: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

At face value, this is a principle dear to American hearts. No one of goodwill could disagree, yet, as applied, the idea powerfully split the high court as the justices decided 5 to 4 to bar school systems from explicitly considering student race in attempting to maintain classroom diversity.