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Howard Dean Issues Petition to Reform NCLB

Ohanian Comment: I don't like the emphasis on "dumbing down tests" and "weakening standards" in this petition. This just strikes me as a weasly petition. But then,as I have pointed out in a book or two, I am against high standards.

Governor Howard Dean issued the following statement regarding the President's radio address on the No Child Left Behind bill:

"Today the President used his weekly radio address to praise his education bill, No Child Left Behind. Behind his glowing rhetoric is an unfortunate reality: Another broken promise by this President, who has broken his pledge to fund the statute's new demands, creating crushing burdens for local school boards and teachers throughout America. The funding is simply not there, and local leaders already burdened by widespread federal program cuts and strains created by mismanagement of the economy are struggling to find new resources to pay the bill. All too often, the only solution is to raise property and state taxes, giving lie to the notion that this President is a tax cutter. He is simply a tax shifter.

"Secondly, we all applaud the notion of accountability, but the methods in NCLB to measure accountability and promote reform are dangerously flawed. Schools from Texas to Colorado are being forced to dumb-down their tests so that they can ensure "progress" from one year to the next. This is a sham, and a disservice to our children. Worse still, in too many places, struggling students are reportedly being held back or even pushed out of classes and schools in a tragic game to boost average tests scores. Meanwhile, to help schools actually improve, the Administration provides rhetoric without resources.

"It's time we had school reform that works and really does close the achievement gap not empty sloganeering that burdens our schools and sticks local taxpayers with the tab."


This week millions of American children return to school, where they will face chaos and confusion caused by the Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind” education law.

President Bush signed the law with great fanfare, but he has never committed the federal money needed for real reform. It is estimated that local taxpayers would need to spend $85 billion trying to comply with No Child Left Behind, but the federal government provides less than one-seventh of that amount.

While education is primarily a local responsibility, the federal government should help local officials improve student performance, enhance school accountability and close the achievement gap between rich and poor students. The No Child Left Behind Act hurts, instead of helps, local efforts to improve schools.

As Governor Dean has repeatedly said, the law should be called "No School Board Left Standing" instead of "No Child Left Behind." Speak up against this law, sign this petition, and we will deliver it to Congress:

I want real federal help for education, not rigid and unrealistic federal mandates.

I want education policies that will close achievement gaps, not lower standards.

I do not want schools to “dumb down” their tests just so it can avoid federal penalties.

I want Congress to reform the “No Child Left Behind” Act so that it helps teachers and school administrators, without undermining local control of education.

If you want to sign the petition:


— Howard Dean
No School Board Left Standing


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