No Child Left Behind… or Ahead

 I am a victim of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I grew up and went through school in the height of its power. I, like most kids in public schools, knew what was expected of me and how I would be tested.

When students figure out exactly what they have to do to meet the standard, they will meet it and do no more. That is the problem. I made great grades in high school but, apart from a few classes where the teachers actually gave a damn, I didn’t learn a whole lot because I was not challenged to push the limits of my learning capabilities.

Luckily, the GOP is here to save us (pause for laughter). The House GOP is currently pushing a bill that would massively rewrite the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act. This law doesn’t need to be changed, it needs to be taken out back and shot. It’s been over a decade since NCLB was passed and what have we gotten? We’ve gained massive debt, an education system going nowhere fast, and an opening for the feds to roll out national standards.

The goal of NCLB, to make all students achieve a certain level, is an admirable one. It is the way that the government goes about reaching that goal that is the problem. NCLB has the same problem that arises with any socialist attempt to make everyone equal. In trying to make all students achieve at the same level, NCLB has effectively brought all students to the middle. It has allowed states to set low goals so they have the appearance of improvement and success, while what is actually happening  is the low-achieving students stay roughly the same while the high-achieving students fall back to just above the state’s goal.

The solution is not fixing the law and it is certainly not Obama’s “Race to the Top” program which basically bribes states into a national common core standard. The solution is not more federal regulation and oversight. The solution is to obey the Constitution. Shocking, I know. Education needs to be left where the Founding Fathers wanted it, in the hands of the states. We need to get DC out of education, promote public education tax credits, and subject schools to the regulatory forces of the free market, not government bureaucrats.  

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.

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