Day By Day

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Good President [continued] -- Education

I well remember how, during the last administration, friends of mine who were professional educators would become almost incandescent when the subject of President Bush's educational reform, "No Child Left Behind", came up. Their contempt for him was boundless. It did no good to point out that the sponsor of the bill was Senator Kennedy [whom they cherished as a great friend of education] or that there was overwhelming public support for accountability, or that rises in expenditure on education had not been matched by gains in student performance for some time and something clearly had to be done. No, they were adamant in their insistence that Bush's reforms were ruining the educational system.

And they were wrong. Enough time has now passed to see the results of Bush's reforms. Writing in the New Republic, Jonathan Cohn notes that tests show that "Bush's vilified education law works".
NCLB’s vision of school reform may be blinkered, and [formerly failing schools] owe [recent] success as much to... gifted staff as... to any outside force. But, as even [hostile] educators admit, NCLB changed the way they taught and led them to reach some of the children who might have otherwise fallen behind.
In other words, score another one for Dubya. Once again he was right, and his critics were wrong. And even Democrats, like the writers at the New Republic, are forced to admit it.

More and more history is vindicating George W. Bush, but so deeply has the Democrat campaign narrative been embedded in our political culture that emerging truth is unlikely to have much impact on people's attitudes regarding one of our best and least appreciated presidents.

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