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Gop Support for No Child Left Behind Wanes

Now if Progressives could stop navel gazing long enough to learn how to talk to conservatives. . . .

by Jim Brown

A conservative political analyst says a growing number of Republicans
are indicating they will oppose reauthorization of President Bush's
federal education law, No Child Left Behind. One reason, he says, is
because they feel it intrudes into what has traditionally been a local
issue: education

No Child Left Behind was authorized under a Republican Congress five
years ago and signed into law by President Bush. It is now up for review
in the House and Senate, which are now both in Democratic hands. Jon
Gizzi, political editor of the conservative periodical Human Events,
says the law has some noble goals -- such as increasing test scores and
improving the plight of students in failing schools -- but many believe
that should be the prerogative of state and local bodies.

"All told, No Child Left Behind has enhanced the federal role in
education and increased the size of the Department of Education to a
greater level than under Democratic President Bill Clinton," Gizzi
observes. But this time around, he says, the president and his education
program are coming up against "something that's a little bit bigger"
than when No Child Left Behind first came into existence -- opposition
from his own party.

According to Gizzi, more and more Republicans resent the cost of the
program and the "intrusionary" role it has in a local prerogative --
education. He says Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) recently told him he
voted against the program when it first came up and has seen nothing the
past five years to change his opinion of it. And both Congressman Pat
McHenry (R-NC) and second-ranking House Republican Roy Blunt have also
indicated they are inclined to vote against the law, says the
conservative journalist.

"Whatever the opinion of this program, whatever its virtues, Republicans
are taking a second look at it," says Gizzi. And that is happening in
large part, he says, "because in contrast to five years ago, the
program's wording and scope will be in the hands of two people a little
different and a little more powerful than five years ago -- Senator Ted
Kennedy of Massachusetts, and in the House, Democratic Congressman
George Miller of California."

Republican Senators Jim DeMint and John Cornyn have introduced an
alternative bill to No Child Left Behind called "The A-PLUS Act of 2007."

— Jim Brown


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