Hey, I’m a historian and it’s my job to have a long memory, but I know that many people don’t remember how the whole nation got stuck with this crazy No Child Left Behind law.

Back in 2000, when George W. Bush was running for president, he talked about the Texas miracle. There was a secret formula, he said, and it was really simple: Test every child every year. If scores go up, the school gets honored, maybe even a bonus. And if the scores drop or go flat, the school is humiliated.

How easy. Testing! Accountability! And look what happened, or so he said: The test scores went up, the dropout rate went down, and the achievement gap was closing.

That sounded so totally wonderful (and almost cost-free except for buying lots more tests) that Congress decided everyone should do it and they passed NCLB. The law ended up on President Bush’s desk in January 2002, and he proudly signed it, with Democrats and Republicans together behind him.

True bipartisanship.

Now we look around at the wreckage and we see that lots of children are still left behind.

What happened? Here is a good place to find out. There was no Texas miracle.

When I was growing up in Houston, we used to read a funny little book called “Texas Brags,” which contained all the crazy boasts that Texans made, not expecting anyone to believe them. You know, we’re the biggest and the best and we have the most and the largest of everything. And you better believe it!

Hey, folks, here’s the inside scoop. We were not serious! It was a tall tale.