Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, September 25, 2015

No Child Left Behind: A History of Failure

Congressional Republicans are now poised to give Obama new authority over education in America’s public schools. This is a big disappointment for those who worked hard to elect a Republican Congress last November. We expected the new Congress to take power back from the president, not give him more. For the past fifty years, the engine of federal control over local schools has come from Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. It was the first in a series of socialist laws that President Lyndon Johnson promised would lead to a “Great Society” after we won his declared “war on poverty.” Johnson’s Great Society legislation was speedily enacted by a Congress in which Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than two to one. Despite the trillions of dollars spent since 1965, we are no closer to achieving a Great Society. In fact, by many measures, America’s education and social welfare are worse today than when those programs were launched fifty years ago.

Republicans had an opportunity to dismantle the failed regime of federal control when they regained control of both Houses of Congress in 1994 and then elected a president in 2000. Unfortunately, George W. Bush campaigned on the slogan “Leave No Child Behind” as his signature agenda. John Boehner, who was chairman of the House Education Committee at the time, produced a bill that rebranded Johnson’s program under the title “No Child Left Behind.” No Child Left Behind promised to bring all children to 100% proficiency by 2014. Of course that did not happen, and nearly everyone now recognizes it as a failure.

Now our Republican Congress wants to resell No Child Left Behind to the American people in the form of the “Every Child Achieves Act.” This legislation would once again give control of our schools to the federal government, instead of local school boards. Do not be fooled by promises of improved standardized test scores, 50 years of experience should teach us that the federal government should have no place in our local schools.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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