A-PLUS alternative to NCLB, or at least a start
As we get set for a round of debates on No Child Left Behind, we must also realize that we are debating the future of our nation. What our children are taught today will dramatically effect the government in succeeding generations. It is why our founders spoke so frequently on the importance of education in our fledgling republic, and why Abraham Lincoln identified education as the single most important issue our nation could be engaged in. In fact, it is to this conversation that this blog has been dedicated.
Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. --Abraham Lincoln, 1832
Fortunately, we do not have to go back over 100 years into our history to find politicians who recognize both the vital importance of education to the preservation of our liberties and the importance of not dictating any plan or system from the national level. Senators John Cornyn (R.-TX) and Jim DeMint (R.-SC) and Representative Pete Hoekstra (R.-MI) all have some interesting things to say about the nature of education with which I wholeheartedly agree. Together, they are sponsoring the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act of 2007 (A-PLUS) to provide a genuine alternative to the dramatically increased federal involvement initiated by No Child Left Behind.

From what I have read so far, I think the act is pretty good. The biggest improvement would be to completely eliminate the federal government's involvement, including through funding, but that is not likely to happen any time soon. That would fundamentally change the "politics of education," and prevent our children from falling prey to "maneuvering within a...group to gain control or power."

In the meantime, I think this proposal is the first real step in the right direction I have heard from Washington. The main goal is to limit federal oversight, thereby returning control to states and local districts. Accountability measures are aimed at giving parents more information in order to more effectively hold their schools accountable rather than at bringing local schools into line with the federal government's goals for education.

Coryn, DeMint and Hoekstra will be holding a press conference this morning at 11:30 at the Senate Swamp. (Doesn't that sound like a delightful place for a press conference?) Robert Bluey, media specialist at the Heritage Foundation, has more information.

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