NCLB Needs Flexibility, Says Former Bush Official

When it comes to No Child Left Behind (Leaves Many Children Behind), more flexibility along with less money is needed, says former deputy U.S. education secretary Eugene Hickok, who helped put the program in place. At an event in Raleigh last night, Hickok says more federal money isn’t the answer to fix the law, which is intensive on state standardized testing (can you say EOCs/EOGs…)

Take a look at this excerpt from today’s Carolina Journal online, part of the John Locke Foundation:

Growing influence from Washington bureaucrats causes problems, Hickok said. “The more that Washington gets engaged in local and state education policy, the more it undermines what I consider to be the most important part of education policy, and that’s ownership,” he said. “These are, after all, your schools, your children. Those teachers work for you. Those taxes you pay go to run your schools. And the more Washington gets engaged, the more the sense that somehow they’re government schools, that Washington decides what should be taught, when it shall be taught, and who shall be taught. And that’s just not a good thing.”

That’s why Hickok raises questions about the Bush administration’s proposal for a $1 billion spending hike for No Child Left Behind. Now that NCLB has increased the focus on results and accountability, state and local governments should get more flexibility, he said.

“If I had my way, I think I’d have Washington more engaged in doing research and development — R&D — on education,” he said. “This nation does no investing into R&D in education. But that’s probably not going to happen. Washington’s not going to step back and do what I think it should be doing.”


Hickok speaks volumes here. And we’ve covered the travesty surrounding NCLB-LMCB here on this website. This law is ruining public education and we’re seeing the effects. The only ones this law is benefitting are the standardized test-producing companies such as Pearson, Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, among others.

Less government clearly yields better results. So Washington needs to lay down its guard, start doing the right thing, give the states more flexibility and do what’s right for our children. It is past time.

Another excerpt:

Positive reform is possible, Hickok said. “The world has changed pretty dramatically since No Child Left Behind was introduced,” he said. “Right now, we in American public education do talk more about making sure results are accurately reported in a way that is easily understandable. That was not being done much before NCLB. So that having been put in place, it’s a lot easier for states to be able to make their case.

“And remember this, if you believe in federalism, we are a nation of states,” he added. “We should provide incentives for states to compete. If North Carolina can make a better case for the way it educates its kids than Virginia can, it should be allowed to do that and to be able to demonstrate it in a way that convinces those who might want to locate their businesses in North Carolina or move their families to North Carolina. Right now, we have a system from the top down that tends to homogenize public education. What I’m looking for is a way to energize this public education.”

Check…and mate.

E.C. 🙂


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