The No Child Left Behind education law was cast as a symbol of possibility, offering the promise of improved schools for the nation’s poor and minority children and better prepared students in a competitive world.
Yet after a decade on the books, President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment has become a symbol to many of federal overreach and Congress’ inability to fix something that’s clearly flawed.
The law forced schools to confront the uncomfortable reality that many kids simply weren’t learning, but it’s primarily known for its emphasis on standardized tests and the labeling of thousands of schools as “failures.”
Sunday marks the 10-year anniversary of the day Bush signed it into law in Hamilton, Ohio. By his side were the leaders of the education committees in Congress, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. The bipartisanship that made the achievement possible in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks is long gone.