A Smart Move to Education Reform: Downsize the Federal Footprint

Lindsey Burke /

On Saturday, President Obama used his weekly radio address to call for the quick reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Obama lauded the progress of Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee—his inaugural Race to the Top Commencement Address winner—and showcased the low-income school as an example of how to reverse course and get positive results:

We need to encourage this kind of change all across America. We need to reward the reforms that are driven not by Washington, but by principals and teachers and parents. That’s how we’ll make progress in education—not from the top down, but from the bottom-up.… That’s why it’s so important to replace No Child Left Behind this year—so schools have that flexibility.

But despite promoting a bottom-up approach to improving America’s schools, President Obama’s language suggests that the same Washington-centric policies can be expected moving forward. When the President says, “We need to encourage this type of change,” we likely means himself, Secretary Duncan, and certain Members of Congress. (more…)