Wednesday, July 2

NCLB: Testing the law that sets the tests

A new crack in the NCLB edifice has emerged, as 6 states have won the right to design their own means to achieve federally-mandated landmarks of academic progress. According to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, up to 10 states will pilot their own achievement and accountability programs; 17 states applied for the program, including New York, which didn't make the short list.

Spellings also bemoaned Congress' decision to yank funds for Reading First, the Bush-endorsed reading program that's shown flat results -- and been linked with dubious business practices by the Education Department's own Inspector General. In a trope that echoes New York testing outcomes, Spellings says state data show the progam is working, while federal review documents no effect at all on reading comprehension.

Does education reform merit attention in the Presidential election? Lots of Americans agree -- to a point. This poll puts education third, behind gas prices and economic concerns, but ahead of health care, homeland security, and the environment (dead last).

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