March 14, 2004

We must ask ourselves why they hate us...

George Will defends the imposition of standards on schools in A Genuine 'Education President'

.... The No Child Left Behind Act was passed overwhelmingly by the House (381-41) and Senate (87-10), but now liberals see that NCLB expresses essentials of Bush's conservatism. Democratic presidential candidates have denounced it as a "federal intrusion" in state and local affairs -- everyone knows how much liberals dislike such intrusions. Howard Dean, that perfect indicator of liberal passions, seemed to think that if tests reveal that many schools are failing their children, then drastic changes must be made to the . . . tests.

Yes, the tests can be improved, and schools should have somewhat more latitude regarding disabled students and those whose first language is not English. But many complaints about NCLB are not about marginal or easily adjustable matters.

Teachers unions recoil from accountability and resent evidence that all is not well, or that whatever is wrong cannot be cured by increased funding of current practices. But per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, is three times what it was 40 years ago, and the pupil-teacher ratio is 40 percent lower, yet reading scores are essentially unchanged....

I think NCLB is about a lot more than imposing standards. Bush wants to dynamite the logjam. He wants choice. He wants schools to compete for students like businesses compete for customers.

He does NOT want to destroy the public school systems. He wants them to work for parents, instead of for bureaucrats and politicians.

Of course, for a leftist, that IS destruction. Hence the title. Of course they hate us. How would you feel if you were a child, and bullies grabbed your favorite toys, and then fixed them so they worked better! And then duplicated them so all the kids could have toys. Mindless spluttering hatred would be a mild response...

Posted by John Weidner at March 14, 2004 7:43 AM
Weblog by John Weidner