Two States Defying No Child Left Behind

from Andrew J. Coulson, Cato-at-Liberty:

South Dakota joined Idaho this week in declaring that it will not raise its student proficiency targets next year as required by the NCLB. Under the law, states have been required to bring increasing percentages of their students up to the “proficient” level on their own tests. By 2014, NCLB demands that all students be deemed proficient by their respective state departments of education.

The belief driving NCLB was that, if we we raise government standards for what students are supposed to know and be able to do, they will learn more. They haven’t, according to the best, nationally representative indicator of academic outcomes: the NAEP Long Term Trends tests. By the end of high school, overall student achievement is no better today than it was 40 years ago. In science, it’s slightly worse.


Do federal elections really matter?

Do federal elections really matter?  The answer around the Tenth Amendment Center seems generally to be No.  Perhaps a more nuanced way of answering the question would be, in the near term, Yes, but in the long run, No.

The trouble is with the place itself.  Washington, D.C., has indeed become ‘ “the asylum of the base, idle, avaricious and ambitious” ’ that New York Anti-Federalist George Clinton predicted it would become (Bill Kauffman, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet (hereafter FFDP), ISI Books, Wilmington, DE: 2008, p. XIII).  It has a culture all its own, and when elected officials go there to serve out their terms of office, that culture has an effect on them.

‘I have smelt/Corruption in the dish, incense in the latrine, the sewer in the incense,…’ (T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral (MitC hereafter), HBJ, New York: 1963, p. 67)

Luther Martin, an Anti-Federalist from Maryland, described that troubling effect this way:  ‘ “If he [a U.S. senator] has a family, he will take his family with him to the place where the government shall be fixed; that will become his home, and there is every reason to expect, that his future views and prospects will centre in the favors and emoluments of the general government….  [H]e is lost to his own State.” ’ (FFDP, p. 97)

Why should this surprise anyone?  ‘Their paymaster in the federal city, predicted Martin, will absorb their energies and loyalties.’  (FFDP, p.37)