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Scrap It

From last night’s “debate“, Bill Richardson in response to a question about No Child Left Behind.

I would scrap it. It doesn’t work.

It is the law. It is not just an unfunded mandate, but the one- size-fits-all doesn’t work.

It doesn’t emphasize teacher training. It doesn’t emphasize the disabled kids.

It doesn’t — English learning kids don’t get help.

The worst thing it does is it takes districts and schools that are not doing well, takes their funds away, penalizes them. If a school is not doing well, we help that school.

The last thing we need to do, relating to teachers, is the key to a good education in this country is a strong teacher. I would have a minimum wage for all our teachers, $40,000 per year.

And I would emphasize science and math.

And I would also bring, to make sure our kids that are not scoring well in science and math, 29th in the world, to unlock those minds in science and math, I would have a major federal program of art in the schools…

… music, dancing, sculpture, and the arts.

There are a few things to quibble with in there but contrast Richardson’s direct, honest answer with the waffle offered by Joe Biden.

But I would scrap it — or I guess, theoretically, you could do a major overhaul. But I think I’d start from the beginning.

There’s no theoretically here. You cannot overhaul a miserable law with an even worse implementation.

[Side note to CNN: why aren’t the video questions linked in your transcript of this event?]

nclb, cnn, debate, bill richardson


  1. Chris Lehmann

    Wow. O.k. — I know he’s a darkhorse, but he’s my new favorite.

  2. Aron

    He is a great guy, but his comments at the end of the debate were priceless (that everyone on the stage would make a good… vice president).

    As to NCLB, iy has serious flaws, true.

    But… look a little deeper into what he said:
    $40,000 a year minimum wage for teachers?
    He would virtually bankrupt some districts and towns. Remember, funding is sometimes a local issue in states. Some little school district in California or South Dakota would have to sell advertising rights to student desks to raise that kind of cash… or maybe in California’s case, get rid of PE teachers and music teachers and librarians… oh, wait, that is where some are already! (Didn’t Bill say these needed to be taught too?)
    And that is my point…this Federal experiment in school control is a bad idea.

    Accountability… good idea.
    Closing the learning gap…. good idea.
    Trying to get all kids to succeeded… great idea.

    Federal Mandate to do all this through a testing program? Bad idea.
    Federally spending money to test every child every year? Bad idea and fiscally irresponsible.
    Once size fits all in terms of education? Never has worked yet.

    Bill was great in his response, “Scrap it!” But, as to answering how we are going to get out of 29th place… he did not seem to have an answer that would work.

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