For the past dozen years, there has been no louder cheerleader for No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and their demand for test-based accountability than the Néw York Times’ editorial board.

Despite the fact that greater test score gains were recorded before the implementation of NCLB than since; despite the finding of the National Research Council that test-based accountability was ineffectual; despite numerous examples of cheating, gaming the system, narrowing the curriculum, and other negative consequences of high-stakes testing, the Times’ editorial board has stubbornly defended this regime of carrots and sticks based on standardized tests.

Even now, in an editorial saying that testing had gone too far and had turned into a “mania,” the Times can’t resist referring to the passage of George W. Bush’s NCLB (based on the non-existent “Texas miracle”), as “a sensible decision.”

It was not. NCLB was a disaster for the quality of education in the United States. Furthermore, it sent the privatization movement into high gear, since “failing” public schools could, under the law, be closed, privatized, handed over to charter operators. We now know that none of these remedies actually works unless low-performing kids are excluded or kicked out, and we know that the overwhelming majority of so-called “failing” schools are schools that enroll mostly black and Hispanic students, many of whom are poor, have disabilities, or don’t speak English. Schools are being closed and privatized because they enroll the neediest students, not because they are “failing.”

Now the Times looks forward to the Common Core and the computerized testing it requires to bring the wonderful progress promised by NCLB.

It is good to see that even the Néw York Times and its education editorial writer Brent Staples recognize that enough is enough. If only they had said so five years ago, before so many schools were unfairly closed based on test scores. If only they would acknowledge that standardized tests mirror advantage and disadvantage. If only they would ask questions about how more rigorous testing will affect the kids who are now struggling with the current tests.

But let us be grateful that after 12 years of NCLB and four years of Race to the Top, the Times’ ardor for high-stakes testing has cooled.