Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Effort by Bush on Education Hits Obstacles. Since President Bush signed No Child Left Behind, the law has imposed undeniable changes on public education, but it has also faced a backlash. By By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO. [The New York Times > Home Page]

"Faced with the challenge of raising all students to academic proficiency by 2014, however, some states simply lowered their standards, while many others came up with statistical devices to exclude whole groups of children from the law's umbrella.

Critics contend the law gives schools dozens of ways to fail, but does little to help them tackle the causes of low achievement among poor, minority and disabled children. Others complain that the law's reliance on standardized tests is unsound, that its strict rules conflict with existing state efforts, and that its remedies for struggling schools are largely punitive. As a result, in the two and half years since President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law, a political backlash has curtailed its reach.

Though the law passed with strong bipartisan support, Democrats, civic groups and teachers' unions complain that federal spending consistently falls short of the amounts authorized when they signed on - an accusation that Republicans reject, saying that spending on the nation's poorest schools has risen by more than 50 percent on Mr. Bush's watch."

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