Duncan: Change Bush 'No Child' law

By Russell Berman - 03/09/11 08:09 PM ET

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Congress on Wednesday that 82 percent of the nation’s public schools could be failing by next year under the standards of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

The projection amounts to a startling spike from current data, which shows that 37 percent of schools are on track to miss targets set by the law. 

The Education Department released the statistic on the day Duncan testified for the first time before the Republican-led House Education and Workforce Committee in a move clearly aimed at jolting Congress to act on education proposals the Obama administration unveiled a year ago.

“Four out of five schools in America would not meet their goals under [No Child Left Behind] by next year,” Duncan said in his opening statement. “This is why we have to fix the law now. Nobody can support inaction and maintain the status quo.”

The law was enacted in 2002 after a bipartisan effort led by, among others, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was then chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee. Schools that don’t meet targets face sanctions, including possible closure.

President Obama is pushing for an overhaul of the law’s standards and mandates, which he has criticized for imposing an unworkable “one-size-fits-all” requirement on schools nationwide. As a result, Duncan argued, schools and educators that have made vast improvements but still fall below the law’s standards are unfairly punished. 

At the core of the administration’s proposal, Duncan said, is more flexibility for states and local districts to meet standards by tailoring “solutions to the unique needs of their students.”

“This law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it, and we need to fix it this year,” Duncan said. “It has created a thousand ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We want to get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair, flexible and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”

As education secretary, Duncan enjoys rare bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, but in an indication of the divide on No Child Left Behind, Republican leaders on the committee made virtually no comment on his push for quick action.

Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) focused his comments and questions on broader spending issues, and a spokesman for the committee, Brian Newell, said afterward that Kline has not set a timetable for addressing No Child Left Behind. “He recognizes the urgent need to get something done,” Newell said.

Duncan pushed for the law to be rewritten by the beginning of the next school year, which means Congress would have to approve a bill by the August recess. In the Senate, Chairman Tom Harkin (Iowa) of the education committee has said he wants to introduce legislation by Easter.


Comments (40)

Give the crooks nothing. They lie about everything to get more money. I wouldn't trust a word that comes out of their crooked mouths. If you want schools to improve remove bad teachers and try teaching them instead of indoctrinating them.BY BJC on 03/09/2011 at 19:38
While the No Child Left Behind criteria are probably too tight, 82% of the schools were not failing prior to the formation of the US Department of Education in 1979.BY Norm on 03/09/2011 at 19:40
Yes the Heart of the NCLB Act does need to get a new beat. Title I - Part A sub section one Section 1118 of the ESEA / NCLB Act is being smothered with obstacles and barriers that prevent families of Title I students from
getting parenting and literacy training.

The landmark decision of the Bush Administration to send money to the local level Title I schools to assist the working poor families of Title I students with getting
training and literacy assistance is under abusive practices. For nine (9) years this money
languishes un spent and un used for the purposes intended and Yes, it is playing a role in the failure of
our students to make grade-level progress because
Federal dollars are not being spent for the purposes intended to help "the families of Title I students".
In Chicago, parents are frustrated with the red tape and
dictator style shenanigans that prevent parents from using the funds. Every year the money goes unspent and unmanned without any real accountability for why the parents are not using the money. Meaningful consultation does not even exist any time parents are being told that in order to attend an EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE, SEMINAR or WORKSHOP,

Parents have to get the money first from somewhere,
( borrow, payday loan etc) because the school district
made no provisions or policies to ensure that the money in the school budget for that specific purpose was available to them. Parents have to spend their money
( that they do not have) FIRST and then the District will
reimburse them. This is why the HEART of the NCLB ACT in on LIFE SUPPORT and about to die. Parents are not getting the help they need so Yes I guess our children are failing and many of us know why.

Just an opinion but it can be backed up with facts, budgets and data for the last nine years.

Thank you, O. Lewis
BY O. Lewis on 03/09/2011 at 19:54
I would urge Congress to do away with the Department of Education for from the day it was born schools have gone down hill. Give the school back to the States as well as the Local Governments and we must not live out the PTA. This will put schools back in the hands of the people.BY Everett Barber on 03/09/2011 at 20:04
Money is not the answer, private schools where the teachers on the average make less money, benefits, and there pensions are 401K's, and they do a better job. No the problem with the public school teachers there is no accountabilty, once they are in the union you can not get rid of them, no matter how bad they are. But lets face it ingnorance is what this nations government wants, a ignorant person is easier to LIE AND CHEAT. BY Stephen on 03/09/2011 at 20:05
Arne is saying the failure rate will be 82% because the teachers are too busy trying to get more money & benefits to be bothered to teach!BY sunshine connie on 03/09/2011 at 20:06
Typical Democrat.

If you can't come up to the standard, lower it.
BY Curmudgeon on 03/09/2011 at 20:36
It is time to FIRE duncan, can teddy kennedy NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND AND DEFUND THE FEDERAL EDUCATION DEPT. For over 50 years they have worked at destroying the education system in the USA. Turn Education back to the States.BY jbobojake on 03/09/2011 at 20:38
REPEAL 'No Child Left Behind' And get the federal government OUT OF EDUCATION AND GIVE THIS BACK TO THE STATES!!!!!!!
BY Noelle on 03/09/2011 at 20:47
Thank you for pointing this out. So the trillions of dollars we have spent is a failure. Public education and the teachers union has been a failure. You have peoven the point we need private schools to come in and clean up this mess. BY JOE on 03/09/2011 at 21:13

Add Comment

Name (required)

E-Mail (will not be published) (required)

Your Comments

Blog Briefing Room Twitter - Click to follow

More Briefing Room »

More Congress Blog »

More Pundits Blog »

More Twitter Room »

More Hillicon Valley »

More E2-Wire (Energy) »

More Ballot Box »

More On The Money »

More Healthwatch »

More Floor Action »

More Transportation »

Briefing Room Blog Roll

The Hill
ABC News: The Note
Barack Obama
Beat The Press
Bill Press
Capitol Briefing
Capitol Games
The Caucus (NYT)
Clive Crook
Comments From Left Field
CNN Political Ticker
The Corner (NRO)
Crooks and Liars
The Daily Beast
Daily Caller
Daily Kos
DCCC: The Stakeholder
DNC: Kicking Ass
DSCC: From The Roots
Drudge Report
Extreme Mortman
Ezra Klein
The Fix (WashPost)
The Foundry
Gateway Pundit
Glenn Greenwald
Hendrik Hertzberg
Hillary Clinton
Hot Air
Hotline on Call
Huffington Post
Human Events
James Fallows
John McCain
Judicial Watch: Corruption Chronicles
Kaus Files
Left Coaster
Lefty Blogs
Majority AP
Marc Ambinder
Matt Lewis
Matthew Yglesias
Megan McArdle
Michelle Malkin
Minority Report
The Moderate Voice
MSNBC First Read
The Nation
National Review
The New Republic
The NRCC Blog
Open Left
Page (Mark Halperin)
The Plank (TNR)
Political Animal
Political Wire
Politico's Ben Smith
Politico's Jonathan Martin
Politico's The Crypt
Power Line
Right Wing News
RNC Blog
Ross Douthat
Rush Limbaugh
Senate Guru
The Stump (TNR)
The Swamp (Tribune)
Swing State Project
Talk Left
Tech Policy Summit
The Right Angle
Think Progress
Top of the Ticket (LA Times)
The Trail (WashPost)
USA Today On Politics
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blog
VF Daily
Washington Wire (WSJ)
Weekly Standard
Yeas and Nays

Briefing Room Blog Topics

 Blog Summaries » Day's End Round-Up »
 Energy & Environment » Midday Blog Roundup »
 Morning Read » News »
  Campaigns »   Administration »
   Civil Rights »   Congressional Campaigns »
   Corporate Governance »   Defense »
   Economy & Budget »   Foreign Policy »
   Healthcare »   Homeland Security »
   Immigration »   Labor »
   Law and Courts »   Lobbyists »
   Presidential Campaigns »   Technology »
   Telecom and IT »   Trade and Agriculture »
  Energy & Environment »  Lawmaker News »
   Administration »   Campaigns »
   Civil Rights »   Corporate Governance »
   Defense »   Economy & Budget »
   Energy & Environment »   Foreign Policy »
   Healthcare »   Homeland Security »
   Immigration »   Labor »
   Lobbyists »   Technology »
   Telecom and IT »   Trade and Agriculture »
  Legislation »   Administration »
   Campaigns »   Civil Rights »
   Corporate Governance »   Defense »
   Economy & Budget »   Energy & Environment »
   Foreign Policy »   Healthcare »
   Homeland Security »   Immigration »
   Labor »   Lobbyists »
   Technology »   Telecom and IT »
   Trade and Agriculture »  Lobbying »
   Administration »   Campaigns »
   Civil Rights »   Corporate Governance »
   Defense »   Economy & Budget »
   Energy & Environment »   Foreign Policy »
   Healthcare »   Homeland Security »
   Immigration »   Labor »
   Lobbyists »   Technology »
   Telecom and IT »   Trade and Agriculture »
  Other »   Administration »
   Campaigns »   Civil Rights »
   Congressional Campaigns »   Corporate Governance »
   Defense »   Economy & Budget »
   Energy & Environment »   Foreign Policy »
   Healthcare »   Homeland Security »
   Immigration »   Labor »
   Lobbyists »   Presidential Campaigns »
   Technology »   Telecom and IT »
   Trade and Agriculture »  Oversight »
   Administration »   Campaigns »
   Civil Rights »   Corporate Governance »
   Defense »   Economy & Budget »
   Energy & Environment »   Foreign Policy »
   Healthcare »   Homeland Security »
   Immigration »   Labor »
   Lobbyists »   Technology »
   Telecom and IT »   Trade and Agriculture »
You need Flash Player 8 (or higher) and JavaScript enabled to view this content

Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.