William Mathis, a former school superintendent in Vermont, now associated with the National Education Policy Center, analyzed the proposed legislation of both Democrats and Republicans and finds that both parties have no understanding of the damage wrought by No Child Left Behind.

Washington insiders continue their hapless crusade to “reform” the schools by high-stakes testing and privatization. The Democrats want the federal government to do more of it, and the Republicans want the states to do it. Neither has a vision for the future.

Neither shows the slightest indication that they understand the real problems of American education, many of which have been inflicted by NCLB and Race to the Top.

So instead of ditching the failed policies of the past dozen years, both parties cling tenaciously to them.

He concludes:

“When Abraham Lincoln called on the mystic chords of memory, he drew upon those principles that bind us together. He drew upon the common good. At that time, equality was so embraced that it found Constitutional power and protection in the thirteenth amendment. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a wave of state Constitutional amendments enshrined public education because a functioning democracy demanded education and equality for all. In 1965, when we dreamed of a great society, we furthered our reach with the supportive help of the ESEA.

“Today, both Democrat and Republican versions of the reauthorization give vacant, distracted nods to these principles. They fail to ring with great purpose. They do not stir the soul. They are unlovely and parrot our social and economic strategies. In both they punish the poor, loudly proclaim liberty and
equality, and provide only the rhetoric of opportunities.”