Guest Column

August 4, 2013

Congress drops the ball

Several years ago, a friend of mine in Oregon retired after a successful career in the waste-management field. He graduated with a degree in elementary education at a time when teaching jobs were difficult to find.

When he couldn’t find a teaching job, and his student loans became due, he did what many young people today are doing, he went back to school and earned a master’s degree — in education.

When he still couldn’t find a teaching position, he took a job with a large waste-management company as a corporate trainer with the hope of one day landing a teaching job. Like the Sirens of Greek mythology, I guess the lure of the 180-day work year was difficult for him to ignore.

Retiring 30 years later, he decided to pursue a post-doctorate in, you guessed it, education. To compound this futility, last week he asked me to review and comment on his dissertation on the impacts of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation enacted in 2001.

Always happy to help a friend, I talked with him about NCLB, mentioning that it’s been about 30 years since the report, A Nation at Risk, documented the failings of the American public school system.

Some things never change.

I posited that NCLB is a great example of what happens when our elected representatives in Washington put aside their differences and in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation design what has to be the most cumbersome nightmare of bureaucratic red tape devised by the human mind.

Congress passed, and the president signed, probably the worst piece of legislation ever.

One day, Obamacare may lay claim to the title, but for now NCLB is pretty much the undisputed champion.

I told him that I think of NCLB as the Bush-Kennedy No Vote Left Behind Act because the legislation is masterful in pandering to both ends of the political spectrum. It allowed the political right to proclaim that they finally introduced “accountability” into the education system at the same time the political left was applauding the amount of money that would be appropriated to implement NCLB.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Guest Column
  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Scandal an affront to America's veterans

    Those who sacrifice for their country deserve only the best treatment when they come home, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo