Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, is moving to combat the ninth reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Enacted as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty," ESEA was a springboard for the federal government’s unbounded authority and expanding reach in American education. The act was originally chartered through 1970, but the government has reauthorized ESEA every five years since its passing.
NCLB has been tormented with problems and heavily condemned by educators and lawmakers, most visibly through controversial provisions such as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — an academic measurement for schools and school districts based on standardized tests — and the requirement for all children to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. These provisions have led to serious unintended repercussions, one being the loss of transparency to parents and taxpayers about students’ real academic performance.
Most consequential is the federal government’s amplified role in the education system, as the law has severely diminished local control and influence. Indeed ESEA’s last reauthorization has spawned an adverse side effect that has left local and state leaders watching their decision-making authority crumble, as American education becomes intertwined in an endless roll of bureaucratic red tape.
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