First of all, I am extremely proud of the effects of No Child Left Behind. For the first time, the federal government basically demanded results in return for money. It started by saying, We expect you to measure [student performance]. As a result, there has been a noticeable change in achievement, particularly among minority groups. And I’m proud of that accomplishment and proud of the fact we were able to work with people from both parties to get it done.

When I think back about No Child Left Behind, it’s one of the really positive things our Administration accomplished along with Congress. So on the 10th anniversary, it’s time to celebrate success, but it’s also a time to fight off those who would weaken standards or accountability. I don’t think you can solve a problem if you can’t diagnose it, and I don’t think it is fair for parents or students not to be informed of how their schools perform relative to other schools and how their children perform relative to other children.

Former President George W. Bush stating what should be obvious to all about the importance of the No Child Left Behind Act in fostering the first steps towards systemic reform of American public education. What is needed now is to expand accountability, especially in addressing the low quality of teacher training in the nation’s ed schools, not scaling back as being proposed by far too many people who should know better.


[If] a great teacher is leaving, parents should hold bake sales or pass the hat around in hopes of collectively offering the teacher as much as a $100,000 bonus to stay for an extra year… Conversely, a very poor teacher has the same effect as a pupil missing 40 percent of the school year. We don’t allow that kind of truancy, so it’s not clear why we should put up with such poor teaching. In fact, the study shows that parents should pay a bad teacher $100,000 to retire (assuming the replacement is of average quality) because a weak teacher holds children back so much.

New York Times Columnist Nick Kristof, gleaning the lessons from the recent Harvard-Columbia study on value-added analysis of teacher quality. (Dropout Nation offers more thoughts on improving teacher quality in this week’s Podcast and Building a Culture of Genius commentary on teacher evaluations.)

“We know that great teachers have the power to help students catch up when they’re behind. But you can’t catch up when you don’t have access to the best teachers.”

Arun Ramanathan of the Education Trust’s California branch discussing the outfit’s latest study on teacher quality in the Los Angeles Unified School District. This study comes on the heels of an agreement between the district and its American Federation of Teachers affiliate over revamping teacher performance management — and a lawsuit from families of L.A. Unified students suing the district to force it to improve its teacher evaluations and use student test data in teacher performance management.

“People who care about improving early childhood education need to be deeply concerned about taming the growth in college tuitions, for at least two reasons. First, skyrocketing tuition makes it more difficult and costly to raise the higher educational credentials of the early childhood workforce. Second, unless we reign in college costs, there’s a strong risk that public funding to support higher education affordability will wind up cannibalizing or squeezing out early childhood spending. That’s because most policy efforts to date to improve college affordability have focused on providing increasing public funds to help students pay for college. But, with ever-rising college costs that outstrip inflation and government revenues, this strategy can sustain and expand access only if it consumes increasing shares of government revenue”

Sara Mead, pointing to another state budget priority that will play a part in shaping school reform conversations — and not only for early childhood and prekindergarten programs. Dropout Nation Editor RiShawn Biddle made the same points in yesterday’s The American Spectator column on growing Medicaid burdens.