Education Standards Likely to See Toughening

CAROL’S SUMMARY: While some have accused Barack Obama of continuing Bush’s education program, others see his vision and Arnie Duncan’s, the Secretary of Education, as bold and driven by accountability, as the article below indicates. While short on specifics, the administration is enlisting the support of governors across the country to drive this initiative, linking their expectations of stronger student performance to stimulus funding. The goal is to get students ready for college, without the need for remedial classes once they get there. Currently, the U.S. has 1.5 million college students remediated for English and 2.5 remediated for math. Governors, schools, parents and principals have their work cut out for them.


Published: April 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama and his team have alternated praise for the goals of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law with criticism of its weaknesses, all the while keeping their own plans for the law a bit of a mystery.

But clues are now emerging, and they suggest that the Obama administration will use a Congressional rewriting of the federal law later this year to toughen requirements on topics like teacher quality and academic standards and to intensify its focus on helping failing schools. The law’s testing requirements may evolve but will certainly not disappear. And the federal role in education policy, once a state and local matter, is likely to grow.

The administration appears to be preparing important fixes to what many see as some of the law’s most serious defects. But its emerging plans are a disappointment to some critics of the No Child Left Behind law, who hoped Mr. Obama’s campaign promises of change would mean a sharper break with the Bush-era law.

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