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Don’t Strengthen NCLB—Allow States to Escape It
Posted By Lindsey Burke On May 29, 2012 @ 11:24 am In Education | Comments Disabled
Mitt Romney’s education agenda, released last week, has been receiving accolades for its bold vision to expand school choice dramatically (although as we noted earlier , the language should be amended to empower states to enact school choice options instead of creating a federal school choice mandate). While the school choice aspect of his plan has received the most attention, there’s another equally impactful piece: Romney’s proposal to strengthen No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
NCLB is a bureaucratic nightmare that is derided on both sides of the aisle. Instead of trying to improve or strengthen the law, conservatives have championed allowing states to opt out from NCLB altogether.
The conservative alternative to No Child Left Behind—the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act—would allow states to completely opt out of NCLB while retaining reporting requirements for student subgroups.
Instead of the 80 federal programs under NCLB and time-consuming bureaucratic compliance burden, A-PLUS would send federal education dollars back to the states through block grants, which could be used for any lawful education purpose under state statute that would benefit students. It’s a far better alternative than requiring states and local school districts to abide by the overreach that a ninth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (today known as No Child Left Behind) would produce.
While A-PLUS would allow states to opt out from NCLB completely, a conservative education agenda would also include eliminating the vast majority of federal education programs, which today number more than 150.
So in order to get on the path toward actually reducing the federal role in education, Romney’s education agenda should be amended as follows :
For a half-century, federal education policy has headed in the wrong direction—toward further centralization. As with entitlements and the welfare state, America can’t afford to go in the wrong direction any longer.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/05/29/dont-strengthen-nclb-allow-states-to-escape-it/
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 although as we noted earlier: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/300880/romney-s-education-agenda-few-edits-it-could-be-great-lindsey-burke
 amended as follows: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/06/reducing-the-federal-footprint-on-education-and-empowering-state-and-local-leaders
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