Not So Fast, Secretary Duncan

Lindsey Burke /

In Monday’s Washington Post, Education Secretary Arne Duncan was confident that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), will be reauthorized this year, arguing that “few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform.”

But Duncan should take a step back and note that there are wildly differing views on exactly how to approach the country’s largest federal education law.

It’s true that voices across the political spectrum and much of the public are dissatisfied with the NCLB status quo. But Duncan shouldn’t count on consensus about the solution just yet, especially not with a new Congress in town. A reauthorization process would provoke a major clash between two very different philosophies about the federal role in education.

As rumors of an NCLB reauthorization float around, the most important question is: What is the proper role of the federal government in education? (more…)